The first DMN story

The first DMN story

Here is the first of the Dallas Morning News stories on the shuffling of accused and convicted priests around the world. This one focuses on Fr. Frank Klep, a Salesian. We heard the outlines of this story on Friday’s NPR “Morning Edition” and this fills in the details. It doesn’t surprise me, nor will it surprise anyone who’s been following the Scandal closely, like those of you who read blogs regularly, but it may affect the average Catholic more deeply.

Update: The newspaper provides an interactive timeline with some supporting evidence as well.

Written by
Domenico Bettinelli
  • Looks like our Church believes in treating children equally all over the world.  Run, kids, run… 

  • In view of the breaking news story in the Dallas morning news, I am appalled at a website that I came across that is soliciting funds to defend pedaphile priests.  The website, has some highly placed advisors, with big businessmen heading the team.  Would you donate to defend the criminal or stop the crimes?

  • I think the story was dead on accurate but I have to question the picture on their front page. Mr. Dreher was right when he said it would be “jaw-dropping.” It also conveys the message Priests around children are all perverts and molesters, which they are not. It also has the ability to incit violence against innocent priests just as if they showed the the picture of what those Muslim fanatics did to Paul Johnson would incit violence against Muslims. This is why they refuse to show it. It is also why I think a more appropriate picture could have been chosen.

  • A full-grown highly-educated man has no business spending social time with a child.  He shouldn’t even want to spend a lot of time with a kid.  It’s really quite simple.

    It’s sort of like the 13-year old girl with the 35-year old boyfriend.  What can he possibly see in her?  Uhh.  I bet I can guess.

  • “It also conveys the message Priests around children are all perverts and molesters, which they are not. “

    Yes, but the situation in the Church today is such that there are a great many active homosexual priests – a certain percentage of whom molest teenage boys.  Parents have absolutely no way of knowing who is whom, no confidence that actual child molestors have actually been removed from service, and will NEVER again trust priests with their sons.  I will never let a priest be alone with one of my sons; no one I know will either.  The solution – priests who do not have deviant sexual inclinations.  The Boy Scouts knows how to protect boys from homosexual molestors.  The Catholic Church obviously does not.

  • Yes, but wil someone address my point about if they feel so strongly about airing that, then why will they not air what those fanatics did to Paul Johnson? Because they know it will incit violence against Muslims and will provoke UN-P.C. reactions to Muslims, which they do not want. That being said, they have no problem airing a photo like they did on the front page because its the belt-buckle of the Bible Belt and nothing plays better down here then Catholic bashing.

  • Have the clergy always had such a blase attitude about priests molesting boys?  It seems to me – as a biological father – that the minimum sentence for a first offense in such cases should be several years in prison.  A bishop or superior of such a priest should – for the priest’s own sake – urge him to cooperate fully with the police in these matters.

  • “Yes, but wil someone address my point about if they feel so strongly about airing that, then why will they not air what those fanatics did to Paul Johnson? “

    I’ll be happy to, Jonathan.  Sure, the press is heavily biased against the Catholic Church and, in some case, from reporting the true carnage of the terrorists operating around the world.  They should have shown exactly what was done to this man in Saudi Arabia.

    But that said, our Church needs bashing.  The stuff the leaders of our Church are countenancing is true and pure evil – against children.  That’s the millstone thing Christ talked about.  I want to bash my own Catholic leaders for these horrific crimes against children and their parents – and against all the good and holy people, clergy and laity, who are part of the Church.  ,I want to grab these people and throw them against the wall – hard.  Our Church leaders have casued people to associate our Church will sexual depravity and crimes against children – and the association is accurate. 

    This continued shuffling of molestors into situations where there are children is an on-going crime and atrocity against children = and now it’s innocent kids in other countries.  I am ashamed, truly and completely… 

  • Have the clergy always had such a blase attitude about priests molesting boys? 

    Apparently so, for many years, Charles.  It’s like they are non-human.  There is no man I know, father or not, who is not vomitously disgusted by their attitude.  To harm children in this way is a monstrous sin and crime.  And here’s the thing – when the men leading our Church don’t instinctively know this, everything else about them becomes scary – really scary…  A lotta people around here have stopped going to Mass – out of fear and disgust…

  • I agree with sinner on this.  When I first moved to D.C., this being such a politically charge, P.C. area, I was advised by some very well known Catholics not to wear my Catholicism on my sleeve as it may lead to hardships in my worklife here (I worked in a very liberal law firm.)  I remember being outraged by the remark. 

    I am sad to say, that after reading that article, for the first time in my life, I want to keep my religion to myself.  I’m sure that feeling won’t last, but right now, I don’t want anyone to know I’m associated with these vile human beings.  And, my checkbook, other than money I can be assured will not leave my parish, is closed. 

    I guess, from the bishop’s statement on abortion and the public political life, it is also up to each bishop to discern how to deal with abusers. 

    I personally hope the state and government throws the book at the bishops.  Shame on them.  Many seem to have no Catholic conscience at all.

  • In your zeal for reform which is genuine and needed you need to remember that sometimes innocent people get caught in the fire. While this leads to some reform it also hurts innocent people in the way. This is because people have come to believe that two wrongs really do make a right, and where I go to church we know that is never been taught. It has also caused many problems than it has solved. Case in point, I entered the Navy just before the Tailhook Convention and when I saw what those dumb fighter jocks did I was angry. This is because it gave Feminists and many others an excuse to bash the Navy, hold our promotions, treat us like we all were perverts regardless of whether we did anything or not. Where reforms accomplished? Yes to an extent, but for all those people who say they care about men and women in the military they never seemed to pay us very much. They also ran us around the world like we were Yo-Yo’s. I saw good men such as Admiral Henry Mauz run out of the Navy because he supposedly because he did not care about sexual harrassment of women. The record shows otherwise but does that matter. I also remember hearing the former Chief of Naval Operations Jeremy Boorda say that the biggest mistake he ever made as CNO was “Not protecting his friend, Stan Arthur from being run out of the Navy. Eventhough. Adm. Arthur had done nothing wrong and was considering one of the most decorated pilots in the Navy. You know the reason why he said this? He knew this had made people aware that the Chain of Command would not be loyal to them,  and making many people think they where one there own and would not be backed up. Which as anyone who served in the military knows can cause serious morale and operational problems. I think the same must apply in the church, because if we are not loyal to those priests and bishops who do good while prosecuting those who do bad how will we survive? By the way, if think the Dallas Morning News record is spotless against all the priests they investigate, talk to Fr. Benedict Groeschel C.F.R. who was falsely accused by Mr. Egerton of misconduct and has yet to receive and apology. In conclusion, we must go after all these people who have abused their authority and hold them to account but we can not succumb to this “witch hunt” mentality which I saw in the Navy. We must be loyal to one another, lack of loyalty will be our downfall.

    Jonathan Carpenter USN, (ret.)
    Arlington, Texas

  • What’s your point? That we shouldn’t want the exposure of perverts among the priesthood because it will hurt morale? Are you claiming that there isn’t a massive problem in the Church? Who do you want us to be loyal to, the perverts?

    It’s not like the DMN photo shows Klep in the act of molesting the kids. He’s handing them candy, an implied threat. That’s vastly different than showing some terrorist barbarian holding up the severed head of an innocent victim. Time for a sense of proportion.

  • Jonathan: <<Yes, but wil someone address my point about if they feel so strongly about airing that, then why will they not air what those fanatics did to Paul Johnson? Because they know it will incit violence against Muslims and will provoke UN-P.C. reactions to Muslims, which they do not want. That being said, they have no problem airing a photo like they did on the front page because its the belt-buckle of the Bible Belt and nothing plays better down here then Catholic bashing.>>

    Oh, bull. Jonathan writes me constantly at the paper every time the slightest negative comment is made about the Catholic Church in print. I am sorry that he can’t cope with the fact that the Church has Very Big Problems now, but this “Catholic-bashing” shtick is pitiful. In point of fact, the DMN did run a photo of what the terrorists did to the four contractors in Fallujah (the burned bodies), and we ran on our editorial page a photo of Zarqawi holding up the severed head of Nick Berg (we blacked the head out), over an editorial that said Americans should consider that image and realize what monsters we’re dealing with here. We did not choose to run an image of Paul Johnson’s severed head, because we felt the point had been made earlier, and besides, you are simply not going to have an American newspaper publishing an uncensored photograph of a severed head, period. It’s not about trying not to incite people against Muslims. It’s about taste and sensitivity.

    And non-Texans, don’t believe his “Catholic-bashing sells here” nonsense for a second. The publisher of our newspaper comes from one of the oldest Catholic families in the city. That family was here before there was a bishop of Dallas. Jonathan cannot deal with the facts, so he has to attack the motives of those reporting the facts. Like I said, it’s pitiful. As a practicing orthodox Catholic and the father of two young sons, I am so proud of my newspaper and its reporters for doing this work. I want this evil exposed, and cast out of the Church. The Pope won’t do it. The bishops won’t do it. It’s shameful to me that the press and the legal system have to do what they can to make this happen, but I’m sure grateful for it. And I know I’m not alone, either.

  • Wow.  Denial award goes to Jonathan. 

    And what in the world was Fr. Groeschel ever charged with by DMN.  Being defensive about priests?  Well guess what?  He was.  It’s the only thing I can ever say I was dissapointed in Fr. Groeschel about.  Totally out of character with how he is, normally.  But it proved to me that clericalism exists.

  • I just finished Karen Liebreich?s “Fallen Order,” about child abuse in the Piarists when their founder St Joseph Calasanctus was still alive. Stefano Cherubini, the third head of the Piarists, just before they were suppressed,  was a child abuser. From the conclusion:

    “But if Father Calsanz had dealt with the initial accusation of child abuse when it was first made in Naples in 1629, by disciplining or expelling Father Stefano, instead of promoting him, it is possible that the course of events that led to the closure of the order would not have taken place. But under pressure from the Cherubini family, he had instead elevated Father Stefano, and tried to keep him away from young boys, when encouraging him to leave a teaching order and remove himself from all temptation would doubtless have been a sounder policy. Other potential child abuse scandals were also covered up and in each instance Calasanz?s first priority was always the reputation of the order and the father concerned.”

    ?But as Cherubini moved to take over the whole order, the absolute lack of interest from Albizzi and the papacy in the accusations against him seem incomprehensible. Molesting children was a grave misdemeanor the, yet the authorities, despite innumerable protests, did nothing. It can only be that they did not consider the abuse of a child by a priest to be a matter of enough gravity to prevent that priest becoming universal superior of a teaching order.”

    Why the centuries-old blindness to the damage done to the victims? The fault does not lie in celibacy: the Australian Anglican Church has displayed a similar callousness

  • If the glossing over of child abuse ultimately destroyed the Piarists, what does that fortell for the Roman Catholic Church in 2004?

    Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us, for it looks very much as though we may have to hold onto the faith without the support of a Church.

  • Why the centuries-old blindness to the damage done to the victims?

    I suppose it’s the human tendency to protect those most like you and closest to you against someone who is weak, defenseless and in the final analysis unimportant.

    I wonder by the way if this was a case of “child abuse”  or homosexual molestation of teenage boys.

  • “And what in the world was Fr. Groeschel ever charged with by DMN.  Being defensive about priests?”

    I did not read/hear Fr Groeschel’s comments or DMN’s article about him.  Fr Groeschel is an elderly man, and decades ago (when he was growing up), Catholics were taught never to criticize a priest, even if what was said about him were true.  The reason for this (in the prayer books where I’ve read it) wasn’t “clericalism” or protecting one’s own but to avoid attacking God’s annointed.  It’s good to give a priest (particularly one with Groeschel’s reputation) the benefit of the doubt.

  • Don’t lose sight of the big picture.  Once again, it is not the Church but the media which brings the truth to the people—that international religious orders are transferring priests with the certain knowledge that they have molested children and allow these sexual predators to continue to have access to children.

    The Salesians should return the accused priests (or in Klep’s case, self-admitted) to the countries of their respective alleged crimes and let the investigations commence.

  • Christine, you don’t get it.  Here in New York 178 cases of alleged sexual abuse in the city’s public schools.  Each allegation is being investigated by the police.  Allegations of cover-up of molesting teachers: ZERO.  Transfers that took place without investigation: ZERO.

    International religious orders are not only not investigating allegations of sexual abuse but removing these men beyond the reach of civil justice.

    The institutional nature of the cover-up is an outrage.

    The international dimension of this scandal has not, until now, been reported.

  • Mr. Dreher said:
    . It’s a load of bull for anyone, be he Benedict Groeschel or Rod Dreher or Christine K., to refuse to answer a reporter’s questions when the reporter is calling to try to verify information, and then scream “Bias! Anti-Catholic prejudice!” when an article comes out that has some facts wrong.

    I think Fr. Groeschel is generally one of the good guys, but I won’t stand by and let one of my colleagues, a good man and a good reporter, be slandered. Journalists aren’t perfect, God knows. But if we try our best to do our job with integrity and fairness, and we make unintentional errors not because we wanted to, but because sources thwarted all our good-faith attempts to find out the truth, then I have no patience for whining about anti-Catholic bias or any such nonsense. If you want to set the record straight, talk to the reporter when he calls. Record the conversation if you like, and if you get burned by him, then string him up. What Groeschel did in this case was unfair and self-serving, at least as far as I can tell. You don’t do everything in your power to keep a reporter from getting accurate information, and then complain because he has published inaccurate information.

    Anyway, why are we talking about Fr. Groeschel and the Dallas Morning News? That’s a distraction from the rather enormous and smelly elephant standing in the sacristy today.

  • Nobody’s saying the secular press is perfect or completely altruistic. But neither should their findings be dismissed. Of course, most media outlets won’t give you the whole story on abuse within the Church and point the finger at rampant homosexuality among clergy. That’s what Catholic media (including my own Catholic World Report) will do. But most Catholic media do not have the resources do yearlong investigations, flying around the world to get the story. (Maybe if Catholics actually supported good, independent Catholic media, but that’s another topic.)

    Christine and Johnathan: Your comments make it appear that you’re trying to dismiss this scandal based on the character of the media reporting it. I would guess that’s not what you’re doing.

    Look, we all know that there’s no love lost for the Catholic Church in most secular newsrooms. In most places, they just don’t care about the Church. In a few places, there’s outright disdain and hatred. In either case, I believe that God is using them to help us clean up the Church, especially the corruption at the top. I challenge anyone to claim that any of this would have been dealt with if the Boston Globe and other newspapers hadn’t done what they had done two years ago.