A Priest’s Story

A Priest’s Story by Dorothy Rabinowitz published in the Wall Street Journal

“By the time he was taken off to prison in 1994, payouts for such claims against priests promised to surpass the rosiest dreams of civil attorneys . . . By the end of 2004, the Diocese audit showed a total of $22,210,400 – thus far – in settlements.” The Wall Street Journal, April 27, 2005

Part I: The Trial of Father Gordon MacRae by Dorothy Rabinowitz, The Wall Street Journal, April 27, 2005

Part II: The Conviction of Father Gordon MacRae by Dorothy Rabinowitz, The Wall Street Journal, April 28, 2005

FOLLOW UP: The Trials of Father Gordon MacRae by Dorothy Rabinowitz, The Wall Street Journal, May 11/12, 2013

Truth in Justice by Ryan MacDonald

“Father MacRae” Quarterly Journal of the False Memory Syndrome Fall 2008 Vol. 17 No. 4

“A Kafkaesque Tale” by Richard John Neuhaus, “The Public Square” First Things – Journal of the Institute on Religion & Public Life Editorial: (Sept/2008)


  1. Frank Faas says:

    I am in charge of a Marian Apostolate that has former felons in the USA visiting and living there it’s called sanctuaryhouse. Would Luv to have you as chaplain one day … SOON …
    We are laity brothers of the passion of Christ who truly like you are or have been beside him ….. More info if wanted

    frank Faas

  2. Eliane says:

    Fr.Goedon. I.m going on a pilmigrage to Medgujorjia in October. I will place a special request for you to Our Lady. Love you.

  3. Eliane says:

    WHEN ,He will be freed? It seem to me that not much is done to clear him of those charges. Were is the one who accused him?I will have him charges for liying to the court..St-Michael defend us in battle….

  4. jane e petry says:

    This is so disturbing. I work to expose the Girl Scouts partnership with PP and the sexualization of our youth. I have become saddened by the liberal progressive USCCB as they learn the truth and turn from it. Please…as I work as a disciple of truth help with my message and I in turn will share this injustice. For facts…www.100questionsforthegirlscouts.org http://www.speaknowgirlscouts.com http://www.girlscoutswhynot.com http://www.honestgirlscouts.com He who owns our youth owns our country. I am praying for Fr. MacRae. God Bless Jane

  5. Christian Rountree says:

    Fr’s account of this travesty is so horrifying that I am moved to never trust the integrity and honesty of my Church again. I am, indeed, sad to be so enlightened by this injustice. My prayers to Fr. G.M.

  6. Fr. Daniel says:

    Do you know about http://opusbono.org/index.html

  7. Judith Curran says:

    God’s permitting Will has you where you can do the most good. You have a ‘captive’ audience in the inmates and they are hearing about God and seeing Him in you and the way you lead your life. Just think of Pornchai for example, and if he had never met you, where would he be today? I am not saying your life is/will be easy, but try to read Brother Lawrence’s The Practice Of The Presence of God. Our lives on earth are a test of where we will be in eternity. You are a victim soul for the conversion of sinners Father, and a dearly Beloved of God.

    May the work of your hands be blessed. You are prayed for more by being where you are, by your many many readers, than if you were in a ‘normal’ Parish. Godbless.

  8. I can’t imagine how you have suffered over the years; we will be praying for you at my weekly Rosary group!

    God bless you

  9. Steve Matz says:

    Fr MacRae.. I just saw your story while researching links on my friend Fr Corapi… Does this black hole never end? I will pray for you and donate what I can to you fund. If there is no Justice then where has MERCY gone?

  10. julie says:

    praying for you- can’t imagine a cross such as this!

  11. Elaine Braham says:

    I felt so sad reading about an innocent
    priest and how he suffered and is still
    in prison.Can’t something be done to
    help him? I pray each day for God’s sons especially if they are suffering
    unjustly.The Lord Bless them and help

  12. Ann Couper-Johnston says:

    I have now read the article to which you referred me in an e-mail. To make false accusation is a grave sin and an offence in civil law: as you say, the Anglo-Saxon principle of innocent until proven guilty is thrown to the winds and a grave injustice is done. The grave injustice done to minors is aggravated by both their inability to defend themselves and the exalted nature of the priesthood: a parallel and equally grave injustice is done to the priest falsely accused; it is likewise aggravated by the nature of the priesthood and the victim’s inability to defend himself.

    Added to that, any priest who is aware of the true nature of his priesthood will already be wounded by the actions of those who so grievously abused their vocations (did they truly have a vocation, I wonder?) as such behaviour is itself an insult to the Sacrament of Ordination. (I had some small sense of this when the Shipman case was in the news in the UK: my grandfather was one of nine medics in my ancestry on my mother’s side, and for a brief moment I felt ashamed of his profession, although he had nothing whatever to do with any malpractice and had died some 50 years previously).

    From your name, I suspect that you may, like me, be of Scottish ancestry. May God bless you and may He bring about the justice which you deserve: with God nothing is impossible.

  13. Ann Couper-Johnston says:

    Father, thank you for your email. I resolved in the Year of the Priest that, where and when I could, I would stop and encourage and/or thank a priest.

    As I read your email I remembered the life of Fr (Robert, I think) Meyer SJ, a priest of the Munich Archdiocese who, as early as 1923 went to one of Hitler’s political meetings and came to the conclusion that no Catholic could support him. When he came to power he preached effectively against him, and was, of course, silenced. He was not carted off to a concentration camp, but parked in a monastery and forbidden any communication with the outside world.

    Another one who might encourage you is Karl Leisner, a deacon from the Diocese of Munster (under the Lion of Munster, Bp von Galen) who made a remark against Hitler which was overheard and ended up in Dachau, where he was eventually ordained priest. He only once was strong enough to celebrate Mass (but in that Mass was more power than Hitler and all the tyrants of history put together ….. ) as he went in there with TB it is a miracle he survived at all. He lived to see the liberation and to meet up with his parents, but died soon afterwards.

    If someone can send me an address, I would be happy to send you a small booklet with those stories published by our CTS. If someone can find you the full biographies (there are two of von Galen, but I don’t know which is the better) you might enjoy them and find them encouraging.

  14. Ann Couper-Johnston says:

    I have not stopped to read your history (for the moment, I have a long list of things to do and don’t dare stop) but I will only say that I have been most concerned, in all the furore about the abominably wicked deeds of a very small number of priests, for those millions who remain faithful to their vocation, both to chastity and to priesthood, probably at considerable cost to themselves, and yet suffer and are hampered (particularly in their contacts with young people) in their ministry.

    There was a very moving case published in one of our broadsheet papers some years ago. A priest had been removed from his parish because an accusation had been made against him: he was not told even the precise nature of the accusation (presumably some impropriety with a young parishoner) his bishop, from whom he could reasonably have expected some support, regarded him as an embarrassment. In the run-up to Christmass, with no function and no support, he had considered suicide, but knew at the same time that as a Catholic and as a priest that option was not open to him. There was a distinct impression on his part that had he confessed to his (unspecified) misdeed during the psychological interview to which he was subjected, he would have been treated with more consideration.

    I once watched an old black and white film of Kafka’s “The Trial” under the mistaken impression I was supposed to understand what was going on …. I later read the original text and realised why I had had a headache after the event!

    I find it very difficult to read the bitter fury I read in many comments on abuse within the Church. I was brought up Anglican (Episcopalian) and converted so have a positive view of the Church and the Magisterium, while many within see only corruption and self-serving. Yes, there has indeed been such, but there is, above all, Truth. Those who rail against priests who have brought disgrace on the priesthood should remember that those priests, even if they escape justice, will not remain unpunished. They will have to answer to God for what I believe is sacrilege on three counts (misuse of the Sacrament of Ordination; false Confession – lack of purpose of amendment?; if the second is true Communion when in a state of serious sin) and that for each and every occasion on which it occurred.

    I, for one, would not like to have that little lot on my conscience! Maybe if people really believed in the justice that is to come they would not be so obsessed with suing for compensation. Monetary reward will not, sadly, restore lost innocence: I believe it is inappropriate unless there is some indentifiable financial loss which can be restored (if counselling helps, then the funds should be provided for it, for instance, but just saying that your whole life has been a mess because of what happened is too vague – you can’t know how your life would have turned out, and compensation for that should be a comparitively small payment to acknowledge the fact, not an attempt to undo every misfortune you have suffered).

    I have as my profile picture on facebook a portrait of St Michael – we need his defence in this day of battle (I use the prayer saying in THIS day of battle, rather than in the day of battle, because I believe we are fighting against supernatural forces RIGHT NOW).

    May God bless you, and bring you justice: it WILL be yours, if not in this world, certainly in the next. If you have a moment, please offer a prayer for me: I am studying theology at Maryvale Institute (with whom Cardinal Avery Dulles had some small connection, I believe, as did Fr Aidan Nichols) and need all the inspiration I can get! I hope what I have written here is accurate (from my opening paragraph you could be forgiven for assuming I had read one too many German theologians, given the long sentences, but I think it makes sense!). I do intend reading Seewald’s interview(s) in the original.

    God bless!

  15. Dan Hogan says:

    I’m a recent learner of this sad story … and pray that Father Macrae withstand the temptations he must be feeling toward those who are responsible for this – complicit churchmen, greedy conspirators, and all. I pray for the resolution of the whole sorry state of our church – although I have to constantly remind myself that these are not the ‘church’ – which will ever remain one, holy, catholic and apostolic in spite of her weakest members. In all time, the devil has worked closely to the most holy, and individuals have fallen. Also, in all time, there have arisen individuals like Father Macrae to help us maintain the true life of the church. Bless him, and all like him.

  16. Eli Heff says:

    I’ve read your story and I find it awesome and quite horrible, that
    it would be happening in this country, and that church officials
    are just as crooked and devious as public authorities. Our Church
    is being ruined from within. I am very sad that you have been
    treated this way by all who are suppose to help and protect you.
    Where are the Christians that are courageous in the heat of battle?
    This fight is with the devil himself. Stay close to your guardian angel. You are in my prayers, Fr. Gordon.

  17. DMNPM says:

    Will Pray for you, Persevere in your faith,our Lord will have a crown for you in the end. I am so moved by your writing on the Mass and the Eucharist.

    My heart goes out to you.May our Lord Bless you and keep you close to him always

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