Watchdog group threatens to expose prominent priests

Watchdog group threatens to expose prominent priests

Okay, I don’t really have a lot of time for blogging today, but everyone’s been emailing me this story today, so I should say something. A new watchdog Catholic group in the Minneapolis archdiocese is fed up with the monkey business. The Dan O’Connell Society says it has the goods on certain high-ranking priests in the archdiocese and if they don’t come clean and resign, the group will release damning evidence about them.

The most prominent figure on the list is the diocesan Vicar General, Rev. Kevin McDonough, who prior to his appointment as Vicar General in 1992 was the diocesan Chancellor and the Rector of the local seminary.

Rev. Dale Korogi, who took over from McDonough as Rector of St John Vianney Seminary from 1990 until 1992 and is currently the pastor of Christ the King parish, has also been asked to resign.  Finally, Rev. Jerome Boxleitner, who headed Catholic Charities and St Joseph Orphanage in the diocese and is now retired, has been asked to end his relationship with the diocese.

The society admits it is unpleasant to name names but states its case this way: “It is distasteful to name names, but it is individuals who are responsible for the corruption of the priesthood, not the Church itself. It is better to name the traitors than to dishonor Christ’s reputation and the purity of the ancient priesthood.”

The group sounds a lot like Roman Catholic Faithful. I hope they really have the goods because if they don’t they’ve opened themselves up not only to civil penalties, but also canonical penalties. On the other hand, as I’ve documented over the past couple of weeks, there is a sickness in the heart of the archdiocese that really needs to be cleaned up.

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Written by
Domenico Bettinelli
  • Wow!  That’s quite a powerful article.  I can’t disagree with their reasoning.  Like Dom, I hope they have the evidence to back their claims.

  • I am, frankly, appalled by this.  I do not know what the criminal code of Minnesota says about this kind of activity, but in some places it clearly meets the criteria for “criminal coercion” or blackmail.  In whatever event, it has absolutely nothing to do with the following of Christ, whose highest law has always been and will always be the exercise of charity, which presumes mere justice but goes beyond it.
    If the evidence of wrongdoing against these priests is substantial, then it should be brought both to the archdiocese and to the civil authorities. (One or the other alone, as has been demonstrated on numerous occasions, is not enough.)  If the officials of either Church or state ignore the evidence or refuse to act, then that refusal would be a proper subject for public protest and even litigation.  It would be perfectly proper to insist publicly that officials duly perform the duties of their offices, whether civil or ecclesiatical. 

    Both Canon and Civil Law honor the principle of “due process,“although they may define its particulars differently, because both legal systems recognize that observing due process is the only defense the innocent have against vigilantism and lynching.  The legal and judicial wisdom we have inherited from our ancestors (including, by the way, the custom of having well-defined criminal and civil statues of limitations) should be respected because it is the product of centuries of lived experience.

    I’m afraid that the self-description of the O’Connell Society seems to me to carry more than a slight whiff of the lynch mob.

  • “whiff of the lynch mob.”

    Oh, there will be no lynchings.  The USCCB hired the John Jay College of Criminal Justice to study the abuse stats and they found that that overwhelming amount of abuse was male clergy on young males, disproportionately so.

    This will just clarify who is a threat as parents need to know.

    Call it “Know thy Neighbor, Redux”

  • My only confusion is: Why don’t they just expose the “high ranking” priests outright?

    If they are guilty of misconduct that warrants their resignations, then why not expose them without worrying about letting them resign?

    Pure speculation:  Perhaps the misconduct for which they have evidence is homosexual in nature, but not technically criminal; in which case, the media may well ignore their evidence, as the media, and even SNAP, are in no way troubled by homosexually active priests.  Their present course of action may have been a way to grab attention that they would not have gotten otherwise.

    As far as acusations of blackmail, I think that charge is ridiculous.

    I’d agree with the charge of blackmail if these men were trying to extort money from these priests, or force them to do something sinful, but they are trying to get bad priests out of positions of authority; something that needs doing, desperately!

    Complaints about anyone trying to do that sound odd, and almost out of touch; they even have the scent of an agenda, but I won’t say more than that.

  • It’s not blackmail.  They’re not trying to get money secretly.  They’re trying to do about everything laymen are allowed to do.

    Personally, I have problems with the idea that many priests know who the homosexual abusers in their dioceses are, but do absolutely nothing.  I think that’s outrageous.  I think those who know and do nothing need it thrown in their faces when we find out about it.  The ironic thing is that we’re supposed to go to confession to them. (Yes,  I know it’s a sacrament and its good is independent of the priest, but how shameless is it for them to hear your honest confession and then withhold this terrible information like it was nothing??!!)

    Daniel, it could not possibly cause any greater scandal than has already been caused by the rapes of all these teenaged boys.  Most catholics do not still realize the effect this has had on our reputation in the US.  We are dirt as far as many people are concerned.  That is not going to change for years.  Who knows how far decency has been set back in the states over this….

  • Pence again has decided that he is bigger and smarter than the Archbishop.  His actions are appalling and offensive.  His actions are not that of a Catholic and he is progessively becoming schismatic. 

    but he echoes the feelings of many here in the archdiocese who simply don’t know what else to do

    What we do is listen and obey our bishop, our Holy Father and our Church.

    That is not what Pence is doing

  • Detraction does not apply if there is a just cause for the fault to be revealed.  I would posit that liberal homosexuals distorting Church teaching, and even hiding sex offenders while the sheep are encouraged to unwittingly follow the wolves and cover the tab for their soft (and even immoral) lifestyles is a just reason.

  • Rome and even local Church authorities have been negligent in disciplining bad priests and bishops. If you don’t believe me, believe Pope John Paul II, who admitted as much when he said, “I think that in this aspect, maybe I have done too little. There is always this problem of how to balance authority and service. Perhaps I need to criticize myself for not having tried hard enough to lead,” in his book, titled, Get Up! Let Us Go!

    As Karl Keating has said:

    “If the Church had the kind of inquisitorial bureaucracy that its critics imagine it has, the Vatican would be disciplining 24 people each week, not 24 each 26 years. Even then, at 24 per week the total number disciplined during this papacy would be less than 7,500—not a large number when one thinks about the population and internal disarray of the Church…. If we were talking about 24 cases of discipline in a storefront denomination, maybe there would be cause for concern, but the Catholic Church boasts 1.1 billion members. This means that, on average over the last quarter century, the Vatican has disciplined only one out of a billion members per year.”

    Sometimes Rome’s tendency to manage things discreetly has done more harm than good.  If going to Rome or telling proper authorities were all it takes, there wouldn’t be much of a problem.

    Legitimate and good Church authority hates bad publicity and so are more inclined to grease the squeaky wheel; the bad priests and bishops, those on the side of darkness, can’t sweep things that are publicly known under the rug.

    Whatever else may be said, the darkness still hates the light!

  • Daniel W.

    All the faithful have a right to know which shepherds are wolves in sheep’s clothing, especially if they are sexual predators, or men who facilitate such activity.

    They also have a right to know that the priest who told them to follow their conscience about contraception (with a wink) has a homosexual lover, etc.

    I am sure from what you’ve said already, that you’d agree.

  • Are we still obliged to listen to the bishop when the bishop isn’t listening to the Holy Father?  Wake up, Jaime!  It happens.

    Really?  No kidding.  Except Abp Flynn has never demonstrated any disobedience.  Not once.  Do you have any information on the archbishop has gone against the Holy Father?

    No you don’t. But Pence is currently doing so.

    The actions of Pence again demonstrate that he thinks he’s bigger than the Church and he ain’t.

  • Sorry Jaime…..I can’t share your righteous indignation.

    Is Pence crossing the line? Maybe. Maybe not. But in the current climate it seems entirely understandable that laymen are going to start taking initiatives like this, even as their methods are crude. The bottom line is that a lot of people have had enough. They’re well and truly fed up.

    This whole thing needs to be seen in context. For the past 4 years we’ve watched dioceses being bankrupted and Church properties sold off to pay for one settlement after another caused by clerical sexual predators who’ve been allowed free reign by episcopal inertia and in some cases, even conivance. We’ve heard of good young men being hounded out of seminaries by a corrupt lavendar mafia. We’ve heard of entire dioceses being in the grip of homosexual cliques.

    All of this comes on the back of 40-plus years of liturgical lunacy and catechetical chaos. It’s inevitable that the laity will react and are reacting to this whole sordid situation and attempt to right it if they perceive that those entrusted with the care of the Church are out to lunch or, in many cases, are themselves immersed in the sordid goings on.

    Naturally, their methods may not always be correct but I can certainly see why they’re doing it and I understand their frustration which lies at the bottom of this.

    All that’s needed here is for a good priest to step forward and offer to act as spiritual director for Pence’s group to keep them on the straight and narrow and avoid the possible dangers which he runs as you and others have pointed out on this thread. That probably won’t happen as he would risk the wrath of his bishop and fellow clergy. So we’re likely stuck with a group of well-meaning but probably clumsy laymen.

    But let’s be clear. Pence is not the problem here.

  • Sorry Marshmallow

    Pence is a problem.  He has a history of publicly disobeying the archbishop. Let’s be clear, that goes against canon law. How does anyone not see that as a problem?

  • I’m saying that Pence has a history of blatantly disobeying the archbishop.  I think that blackmailing the bishop is disrespectful and appalling. 

    I’ve known the Vicar General for 20 years now.  If he’s done anything to cause scandal, it should be told.  But I have strong doubts about the veracity of the charges because I have no respect for the source. 

    If these priests have done anything, I have no doubt that Flynn would have acted by now.

  • Folks, just a few quotes from Scripture to further add to the confusion:

    1 Timothy 5:19-20 “Do not entertain an accusation against an elder unless it is brought by two or three witnesses. Those who sin are to be rebuked publicly, so that the others may take warning.”

    Matthew 18:15-17 “If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that BY THE MOUTH OF TWO OR THREE WITNESSES EVERY FACT MAY BE CONFIRMED. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.

    Now, WHO exactly is “the church”?  I think that there is a good argument to be made that St. Matthew meant “all of us who believe,” not merely, “elders and their co-workers.”

    I do not know Dr. Pence.  I make no claim about the veracity of his “evidence.”  But it appears that he is taking the advice of Sacred Scripture in his handling of the problem—if it exists.

  • Midwestmom

    Sorry that Ab Flynn doesn’t meet with your approval.  But you don’t get a vote and neither do I. To suggest that Flynn fears left wing agitators is demonstrative of the fact that you don’t follow what Archbishop Flynn has been doing aside from what you read here.  The archbishop has a long history of showing respect to all groups that respect his office.  When that respect is not shown, he deals with it quickly.  There is nothing weak about the man.

    For several years, the Rainbow Sash folk showed respect to the archbishop.  Ab Flynn returned that respect while still maintaining Church doctrine. When they finally showed their true colors, his communication with them ceased.  Pence’s groups have never ever heeded the requests of Ab Flynn.  He (they) have decided that they “know what’s best” and have enacted what amounts to Catholic “Terrorism” by holding masses hostage and now blackmail.

  • Sounds a little narcissistic to me.  That’s not what he’s there for, Jaime.  He’s there to defend the Church.  Period.

    You’re a riot.

    He’s there to set an example on how to live.  Narcissistic… sheesh! He’s been trying to get fringe groups back in line with the Church. And btw we are required to respect the office. It has nothing to do with narcissism

  • I do respect the hierarchy but my hatred of sin and being led astray by leaders wins out over any pretentious, empty obedience.  Your mentality – “we mustn’t say anything – he’s the Archbishop!” – is exactly what led to children being molested and raped by their parish priests.

    What a load of shrapnel

    You’re quoting the VOTF line there hon!! Its a schismatic line you’re endorsing. 

    And its fine for the orthodox to speak up.  When its a SIN is when the orthodox decide to take matters in their own hands.  When you openly defy the bishop by protesting at mass, decide to damage a cathedral by performing an “exorcism”, and blackmail the archdiocese, you are taking matters into your own hands.  NO ONE gets to do that.  And btw once you take matters into your own hands

    you are no longer orthodox. You officially renounce your orthodoxy.

  • Old Eremite:

    Who cares what’s “illegal”!! It’s illegal in some places to spank your kids, say a prayer in school or express the view that sodomy is a grave sin. Conversely, it is legal to kill a child as it emerges from its mother’s birth canal. So fiddle faddle to all that “legality” nonsense.

    A more important question is : “is it immoral?”

    If the society has evidence of crimes or immoral behavior on the part of these priests it needs to document it and take it all the way up the ecclesial chain of command.

    I’m becoming more skeptical with every passing day that this procedure still works “sufficiently well” in your words, to actually remove miscreants engaged in homosexual hanky panky but they need to give it a shot first before going for this “nuclear” option.

  • Jaime,

    I am stunned by your reasoning; appalled, really.  Please help me to understand you.

    According to the John Jay Report, commissioned by the bishops, found that 80.9% of the sexual misconduct within the priesthood in the past 50= years involved boys, and the vast majority of it wasn’t pedophilia (pedophilia, according to psychology: a) does not generally involve gender discrimination, but rather pre-adolescent availability, and b) only involves monors who have not yet developed secondary sex characteristics).

    Conclusion: priests who are essentially homosexual “chicken hawks” have been after young (mostly teenaged) Catholic boys.

    But Pence is the problem.

    Roman Catholic priests in the United States are dying from AIDS-related illnesses at a rate four times higher than the general population and the cause is often concealed on their death certificates, The Kansas City Star reported in January of 2000.

    But Pence is the problem.

    “The Changing Face of the Priesthood”, by Father Donald Cozzens, says an exodus of experienced priests from the church, many of them to marry, has drastically altered the gay-straight ratio. “At issue at the beginning of the 21st century is the growing perception that the priesthood is, or is becoming, a gay profession,” Cozzens writes. “Heterosexual seminarians are made uncomfortable by the number of gays around them.”

    “The straight seminarian feels out of place and may interpret his inner destabilization as a sign that he does not have a vocation for the priesthood.” Cozzens, a priest for 35 years, is head of St. Mary’s Seminary in Cleveland, Ohio. He does not go into whether gay priests indulging in sexual relations are violating vows of celibacy, but he says: “The sexual contacts and romantic unions among gay seminarians create intense and complicated webs of intrigue and jealousy.”

    But Pence is the problem.

    In 1999, the Vatican told Sr. Jeannine Gramick, SSND, and Fr. Robert Nugent, SDS, to stop giving workshops across the country promoting the homosexual lifestyle. That’s nice. But they had been giving these workshops for 20 years!  How many souls had been lost and lives destroyed while the hierarchy did nothing!

    But Pence is the problem.

    Priests are coming out of the closet from the pulpit and writing letters to protest the Holy See for saying that men with strong homosexual tendencies are not suitable for ordination.

    But Pence is the problem.

    Countless priests are giving advice contrary to Sacred Scripture and Church teaching from the pulpit and the confessional.

    But Pence is the problem.

    What, may I ask, is your solution?

  • Johnchrysostom

    You’re appalled?  Why?  Because I’ve pointed out what is the fatal flaw to Pence’s logic? 

    Too bad. 

    And for your long list of things that need correcting, you never once address the critical issues of Pence’s actions

    He’s disobedient to the bishop.  There’s nothing wrong with my reasoning.  He hasn’t been orthodox for a while now.

    What’s the answer?  Its not stricking out on your own.  SSPX tried that and look what happened.  Doing the wrong thing for the right reason is still wrong.

    We can only heal the Church by abiding by her rules.  Not by making up our own.  That isn’t assenting your will.  That’s arrogance

  • Incidentally John I didn’t say that Pence was the problem.  I said he was a problem.  There is a difference

    And Marshmallow.  Your assessment reeks of a Monday morning quarterback.  I’ve gone to the Cathedral in St Paul for years.  I’ve been a witness to the issues firsthand.  I’ve paid attention to what the Archbishop has done and said and I’ve read the declarations made by the Sashwearers.  The archbishop has NEVER gone against doctrine.  If you have evidence to the contrary show it or shut it.

    What the Sashwearers have done is wrong.  What Pence has consistently done is equally wrong.  And no one who has defended him can say otherwise.  He is going against canon law. 

    He has put himself in a position to judge the Church and he has no right

  • Nice of you to keep on deflecting from the issue.  And again I will point out that its Pence’s actions in question here. 

    And you still can’t defend them.  He is wrong.

  • Is Pence crossing the line? Maybe. Maybe not. But in the current climate it seems entirely understandable that laymen are going to start taking initiatives like this, even as their methods are crude. The bottom line is that a lot of people have had enough. They’re well and truly fed up.

    The beauty of reposting your posts.  You seem to defend him pretty well. 

    And he’s wrong in his actions

  • Jaemi, “time to take your head out of the sand-hole” and really see what is happening.

    Fr. Jim Clark’s posting has presented words of excellent guidelines for Dr.Pence, which seems t what the Dr. is doing. 

    If the Dr. has factual documentation of public deeds, words of an individual or persons doing what is seriously wrong to the Church, then they are their own accusers, not Dr. Pence.

  • I have a lot of respect for Fr Clark.  His posts have always affirmed that he is a good and holy priest. However, I think would agree with me that it is wrong to publicly criticize a bishop. And even if the good Father disagrees with that, Canon law states it clearly. 

    Do not make a hero out of Pence.  The true test of assenting our will to the Church is when things don’t go as we would like or as fast as we would like.  This is the mistake made by VOTF and SSPX.  This is the same mistake that Pence and his hooligans are making yet again.

  • Jaime, you are being very harsh in your judgments. They appear much to much “subjective”.

    Fr. Clark is indeed, by his words, a very orthodox priest and, it does take holiness to do that. And holiness is shown by one’s faithfulness in doing the Lord’s Will, of which Fr. Clark is a good example.

    Please show where in Canon Law that it is prohibited to “critize” a bishop?


    The above linked article titled: “Vatican official says Sash wearers disqualified from Communion” states:  The Vatican’s top liturgy official (Cardinal Arinze) said Rainbow Sash wearers disqualify themselves from receiving Holy Communion because they are demonstrating their opposition to church teaching on homosexuality. Cardinal Francis Arinze, head of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, made the comment in a written response to Catholic News Service in early February…”  “…In December, Archbishop Harry J. Flynn of St. Paul-Minneapolis spoke with Cardinal Arinze about the Rainbow Sash question. Archbishop Flynn allows members wearing the sash to receive Communion, while some other bishops do not…”

    “…In an interview afterward, Archbishop Flynn said Cardinal Arinze did not ask for a change in his archdiocesan policy, but did express concern about the clarity of church teaching on the issue. In a statement issued in January, Archbishop Flynn said Cardinal Arinze also indicated that “ideally, all of the bishops who have pastoral care for the members of this movement should seek to adopt a uniform approach…”  Seems there was a bit of a communication gap with Cardinal Arinze and AB Flynn.

  • uncalled for

    Sashwearers are denied communion in the arch diocese by the instruction of Abp Flynn