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Welcome to These Stone Walls

“There is no crueler tyranny than that which is perpetrated under the shield of law and in the name of justice.” Charles-Louis de Secondat, Baron de Montesquieu, 1742.

“There is no segment of the American population with less civil liberties protection than the average American Catholic priest.” William Donohue, Ph.D., President of the Catholic League for Religious & Civil Rights (NBC’s “TODAY,” 10/13/05.)

“Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.” Exodus 20:16

These Stone Walls Fr Gordon J MacRae

On September 23, 2013, Rev. Gordon MacRae marks nineteen years in a cell in the New Hampshire State Prison. Father MacRae is 60 years old. The crimes for which he was accused and convicted are claimed to have occurred when he was between 25 and 30 years old. Brought with no evidence or corroboration whatsoever, the claims were accompanied by lawsuits settled by his Diocese for hundreds of thousands of dollars despite evidence of fraud.

In 2005, Dorothy Rabinowitz, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and member of  The Wall Street Journal Editorial Board, published an account of the travesty of justice by which Father Gordon MacRae was convicted (see “A Priest’s Story” above). It is a story, as described by Father Richard John Neuhaus in First Things magazine, of  “a Church and a justice system that seem indifferent to justice.”

Father MacRae maintains his innocence of these crimes, and could have left prison 16 years ago had he accepted any of the “plea deals” presented to him before trial. In the years since the panic-driven and selective release of files and other accumulated claims and demands for money – but no evidence – some began to take a closer look under the surface of the case against Father Gordon MacRae. What is found there is troubling to anyone concerned for the state of due process, justice, and liberty in America.

The late Cardinal Avery Dulles and The Rev. Richard John Neuhaus encouraged Father MacRae to write. Cardinal Dulles wrote in 2005:

“Someday your story and that of your fellow sufferers will come to light and will be instrumental in a reform. Your writing, which is clear,  eloquent, and spiritually sound will be a monument to your trials.”

In 2006, Cardinal Dulles asked Father MacRae to contribute “a new chapter to the volume of Christian literature from believers who were unjustly imprisoned.” The result is These Stone Walls described by author Father James Valladares in Hope Springs Eternal in the Priestly Breast as “The finest example of priestly witness the last decade of scandal has produced.” These Stone Walls was selected as a Finalist for the Readers’ Choice for Best Catholic Blog for 2013 at About.com.

These Stone Walls and Father Gordon MacRae’s defense are sponsored by The National Center for Reason and Justice (www.ncrj.org), and endorsed by the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights and numerous organizations dedicated to correcting injustice and wrongful convictions in the American criminal justice system.

These Stone Walls is dedicated in memory of Avery Cardinal Dulles and Father Richard John Neuhaus under the patronage of Saint Maximilian Kolbe and Saint Pio of Pietrelcina. All were champions of truth, justice, and fidelity.

For further information on the case of Father Gordon MacRae, consult the following links:

Rabinowitz Trials Gordon J Macrae S

 

Dorothy Rabinowitz Interviewed on the Case of Father Gordon MacRae: Watch the video here.

Comments

  1. Kathleen Rimmele says:

    Father….You are in the Hands of God…When things don’t make sense to me I immediately think God…Just as many before me have said in their own way I believe God’s Greater Good will prevail at the Perfect Time…those who have contributed maliciously…who have played the part of Judas, will get what Our Lord feels they deserve.
    I too will keep you in my prayers, dear Holy innocent…
    Kathy

    • Barbara Ellen says:

      May God have mercy on the perpetrators of this outrage, both secular and clerical, as well as any who sat silent when they knew the truth and could have made a difference. May the Holy Spirit enlighten them so they may repent, turn from their sin and MAKE REPARATION while there is still time.

  2. Dave says:

    I believe that Gordon is holding out for eternal life in Heaven, rather than temporary happiness on earth. God knows the truth, and will embrace Gordon for his strength. Hang in there Gordon! Your family believes in you.
    Your cousin,

    Dave

    • Theresa Renner says:

      I am a 77 year old Catholic, & while waiting for a friend to pick me up to go to mass today, I went on-line to delete things that are in my Favorites. As I went from one article to another, I just by chance came upon Fr. MacRae’s story, & it left me heartbroken for him. I promise to pray daily for his release & will join him in a Spiritual Communion every Sunday night between 11pm & midnight. God be with him.

  3. ESSEJ says:

    Monsignor Edward Arsenault. He is mentioned occasionally in your essays. Do you have any insights or comments regarding his recent sentencing to State Prison?

  4. Di Panetta says:

    Blessings Father. I have just discovered this blog.
    You have certainly walked the Via Dolorosa with Our Crucified Saviour. He must love you very much.
    I would hate to think what is going to happen to your accusers and those who did nothing!
    I’m not wealthy, but my prayers during the Easter Vigil Mass will be joined to those who have written to you.
    Gods Peace be with you.

  5. Ryan A. MacDonald says:

    Dear TSW Readers, I received the following in an email message from a victim of sexual abuse in a parish where Father Gordon MacRae served, but the allegation involves another priest at that parish. The writer, whom I have come to believe but who will remain anonymous for now, has some observations about Father Gordon and These Stone Walls that he asked me to share on his behalf as a comment. Here is that message:

    ‘When I first read this blog I was a skeptic and a cynic and “knew” that Father MacRae had to be guilty. After all, he was convicted in a court of law. He must be guilty. Right? Prisons are filled with inmates who claim they are innocent. I even attempted to make a comment saying as much. After receiving an email reply from Ryan MacDonald, talking with Retired Agent Abbot and spending a long frustrating entire night reading through a massive amount of online records, trial material and follow-up statements, my eyes were opened. For what it is worth, I add my own affirmation of Dorothy Rabinowitz’s statement:

    “Those aware of the facts of this case find it hard to imagine that any court today would ignore the perversion of justice it represents.”

    To those who read this blog that might harbor a doubt about the total miscarriage of justice that Father Gordon has suffered in this case, I encourage you to become AWARE OF THE FACTS. It is all online, here and elsewhere. You do not need to be a lawyer to understand what you read and see the truth of what happened.

    I was a troubled teenager from a broken family living in Keene and going to church at Saint Bernard’s around the time this is alleged to have happened. I spent enough time around the church and rectory that if Father Gordon is the predator he has been made out to be, I would most likely have been a target, as at that time, I very much fit the profile of the type of the victim that such predators seek to groom for their use.

    Not once was I ever approached. Not once did I ever feel uncomfortable, uneasy, or awkward in Father Gordon’s presence. There were other clergy that I had contact with at that time that I cannot s ay that about.”

  6. Christiana Gondreau says:

    Dear Fr Gordon,

    A friend of mine just posted your story. It’s the first time I have ever heard of it. You will be in my prayers. I will pray for your freedom and for God’s will to be done.

    Blessings,
    Christiana

  7. Ralph Carey says:

    Hi,
    My name is Ralph Carey. You might remember me from a few of Father G’s articles Today I am getting out of prison and going to a rehab center to help me stay on the right path. I just want to let you know what a big impact Father G has had on my life. When I first got to prison I was all messed up and coming off drugs and my withdrawal was real bad. There were a few predators that tried to get to me, one of them with violence and Gordon step in and got me away from them and he made some enemies and he don’t care. Him and Pornchai made them leave me alone. But Gordon didn’t stop there. He helped me to get clean and stay clean for the first time I can remember. He believed in me even when I didnt. He got me to school and Pornchai help me be responsble. Gordon is the first true friend I ever had. I never thought one man could change my life so much.

    And now in about an hour I will be free thanks to him while he stays in prison. That is so wrong. So I want you to know what I know in my heart that G is an innocent man.

    Ralph Carey

    • Liz F. says:

      God bless you, Ralph. My family, and I prayed for you at dinner time tonight. I’m so happy to hear that you are out of prison and we will be praying for you in your new life. God be with you in all that you do!! Liz

  8. George Okoroigwe says:

    Dear Fr. Gordon,
    How are U today? Just want you to know that your life’s story has been an inspiration to me and I enjoy reading your write-ups on TSW. I will always keep you in my prayers while looking for other concret ways that I can be of help to your course. Regards to Pornchai and Fr. George. God bless you more.
    Your African brother,
    George, CSsR.

  9. Vincent Pereda says:

    Dear Fr. Gordon,

    I am a avid reader of TSW and believe you are the most eloquent and spiritually sound writer I have ever come accross. I truly believe you have been falsely accused and thus falsely imprisoned for a crime you did not commit and I am appalled that judicial process has not responded in reversing these travesty of injustice. You are in my daily prayers that someday soon you will be exonerated and released from prison. May God continue to bless you and give you the strength to endure your cross of false imprisonment.

  10. elizabeth says:

    I am shocked. I had no idea this was happening. I live in Canada. I can only assume this is not the only case where a Priest has been falsely accused and his Bishop did nothing or actually betrayed Him. I sure hope Pope Francis has plans to deal with this. How can this continue??? 20 YEARS!!!! No justice?? I am so horrified. I need to educate myself more about this. I live in Canada. I wonder now why I didn’t see it. Why I keep getting anti-Catholic rants against Priests from people. Our own Bishops have betrayed innocent Priests. How awful. God Bless

    • Josee Allen says:

      Fr. Is a great witness to so many who have been wrongly accused.I know of others whose health has been destroyed and then persecuted by diocesan officials whose whole aim is to pay off the accusers and keep quiet..That has persecuted the innocent and allowed the guilty to keep preying on their victims. I would love it if Fr. Was released…but I feel sorry for those left behind in his prison who would be without his wise counsel.

  11. Barbara Edsall says:

    Dear Father, I was very encouraged to be able to see the clip from the TV station included on your blog. It seemed as if one only got the second half and the subject matter wasn’t really introduced, but I was very glad to see it and to know that something is getting to “the outside world.” I thought your lawyer, Mr. Rosenthal, was very well spoken on your behalf. May you find freedom soon, in God’s will.

  12. Michael MacRae says:

    Having spent a short time in prison myself I can sympathise with your predicament. Your in my prayers, I hope you attain freedom in the near future.

  13. linda says:

    Just like to say thank you ,for being you, may god continue to bless you always. A true witness to the cross of christ and may the blessed virgin surround you with all the angels of god x

  14. Ann B says:

    Father Gordon, Merry Christmas!…my husband’s been receiving chemotherapy and I have gotten a bit off track…hope my card gets to you before but if not, it’s on it’s way!
    Made cookies but I think I’ll send a donation instead. Please know that I wrote your name in my prayer book so I wouldn’t forget you! Can I send cookies? Wish all your spiritual sons Merry Christmas from me and my husband as well!

  15. Mary Lou says:

    Fr. MacRae, It pleases me to be among those who know your innocence and keep you in daily prayer. I look forward to your wonderful posts and send them to many email contacts. Your name is mentioned whenever I receive communion, and in my daily rosaries. Your writings are a great source of comfort to me and others, who have come to know the strength of your character and love of your priesthood. You bring a depth to our faith in marvelous commentaries on your life, and the lives of the saints. The two articles regarding Vatican II gave me a much clearer insight on why and how it was formed and carried out. Father, I have not seen any recent posting about your upcoming court hearing and where I can send a donation.

    • Feedie B says:

      What two articles did Father give you? I need help understanding Vatican II.

      • Mary Lou says:

        Feedie B, in response to your comment dated November 23, 2012, Fr, MacRae wrote two articles on Vatican II titled:

        Vatican II Turns 50 – Part 1: Catholic in an Age of Discontent,
        dated October 10, 2012 and followed it on October 17 with
        Vatican II Turns 50 – Part II: Catholics and Culture Collide. I hope you will be able to get this reply. The articles are really good. I just came upon the comments and am responding on March 13, 2013. Hope you can access them.

  16. Anne Hendershott says:

    Grateful for this website. This case is so horrible on so many levels–our Church will not recover unless it confronts this case. Fr. MacRaeYou are in my prayers – God has a plan for all of this and I pray that someday we will understand what is the reason for the suffering you have had to endure.

  17. Antoinette says:

    Father,

    You became a priest for our sakes.
    And we have let you down.
    I am sorry that we are indifferent to the injustice you suffer.
    Forgive us because it is the fault of every Catholic who has done nothing to stop this.

    Evil flourishes as long as good men do nothing.

    But notwithstanding our failures, there is no doubt in my mind that God is good. And He will use this evil against you to bring about a greater good.

    Thank you Father and God bless you.

  18. Juan Oskar says:

    Priests are sitting ducks and I can only pray young seminarians know what they signing up for. “Accusation” is the new weapon of torture. Peace in Christ….JO

  19. Michael Rodriguez says:

    Dearest Father,

    In Eucharistic Adoration, Jesus is waiting for us as a prisoner of love for us and for all who seek him. I see that same love in you and now I know of your suffering and dedicate the time I spend in prayer with yours and all who await our Lord and Savior. Jesus, my Jesus!

  20. Kathryn says:

    May God Bless you, Father. We will pray for you.
    Kathryn

  21. Bob says:

    So, once long ago I too suffered a comparatively minor injustice… When I redressed the wrong doing, the advocate said because you said nothing at the time, we assumed it was ok…

    Every time we assent to wrong doing trough our silence, we support that wrong doing… We are part of it… Everyone who hears of injustice, and does nothing, is part of it…

    Father, I am praying for guidance on the right actions for me to take on your behalf… I am also praying for you too… Every day, in my morning Rosary…

    Every Bishop, and every Priest and Deacon, and every member of the body of Christ who assents to injustice is accountable at the judgment, not only for their wrong doing, but also what they should have done – and did not do…

    All Catholics would do well to carefully study the New Testament, the life of Christ… Listen carefully to his words… Notice his personality… Observe his attitudes… Reflect on his parables… What is he saying, to you?

    Does he ever placate secular authority? Does he ever pay an out of court settlement to avoid publicity? Does he ever compromise his values, ever? Does he willingly die for his principles?

    In the end many will say Lord, Lord… Then He will say, “I never knew you”… Bishops, Priest, Deacons to whom much is given, the Faithful to whom much is given: please listen carefully and reflect deeply on the Master… Repent today…

    Father you are in good company, the company of Saint Paul, and many others… God has richly blessed you…

  22. Al says:

    Many years ago, Fr. Corapi said that the devil goes after priests because, ultimately, without priests there are no Sacraments, no confession, no forgiveness. You, Fr. Corapi and all falsely-accused priests are in my prayers.
    God Bless You,
    Al

  23. Susan says:

    I’m so stunned and sickened by what has happened to you. I want to help in anyway I can.

    Whatever I can do, I will, including financial support to help with your legal expenses. I teach in a catholic school and don’t make much, but, I’ll give up things to help you. I mean that.

    You can count on my daily prayers. Please continue to fight this. The Lord has not/cannot abandon you; it’s impossible, although at times it must seem like He has.

    Have you read the Screwtape Letters? Frequently I am drawn to reread chapter 9 in which Screwtape discusses the law of undulation, the peaks of troughs of human experience and how “…during the trough periods, much more so than the peak periods, that it (read human soul) is growing into the sort of creature He wants them to be….Do not be deceived, Wormwood. Our cause is never more in danger than when a human, no longer desiring, but still intending, to do our Enemy’s will, looks round upon a universe from which every trace of Him seems to have vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys.”

    I’m assuming you know this wonderful work by CS Lewis. If you don’t, I’m not certain that the above will make sense. Please, please read it if you haven’t. And if you don’t have it, I will get it for you.

    In the meanwhile, keep doing what you’re doing. You are bringing Him great, great glory.

    In His Holy love,
    Susan

  24. angelavi says:

    ….I am glad that I was made aware of your situation !!!! As an ex-police officer I’ve seen “our judicial system” at work first hand, and know the travesty it plays in today’s world !!!! We live in a VERY, VERY SICK society, and only God can change it !!!!! There’s NO politician or social group that has the answers !!!! During this Easter Season we can only pray that God will forgive us, and we get the spiritual courage to listen and act on His enlightment !!!! You’ll be in my prayers !!!! Happy Easter ( I know the happy part will be tough) !!!!!!!!!

    Yours in Christ, Michael

  25. Lupe K Gwiazdowski says:

    Fr, please try to stay hopeful. There are so many things that will be happening that will turn this world upside down. You certainly will be free again and so ready to help the despairing. I just learned about you and will be praying for you. This life is so hard, and Christ has given you a most bitter part of his suffering. When it is over you will have eternal glory. God bless you, Lupe

  26. John Schutzius says:

    Hello Father,
    As a Byzantine Catholic, we recite the Beatitudes as part of the Divine Liturgy:
    In Thy Kingdom remember us, O Lord, when Thou comest into Thy kingdom.
    Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
    Blessed are they who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
    Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
    Blessed are they who hunger and thirst after justice, for they shall be filled.
    Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.
    Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God.
    Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.
    Blessed are they who suffer persecution for justice sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
    Blessed are you when they shall revile you and persecute you, speaking all that is evil against you untruly for My sake. Be glad and rejoice, for your reward is truly great in heaven.
    Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now, and always, and forever and ever. Amen.
    Your plight calls to mind the last of the Beatitudes in particular. I will keep you and your intentions in my prayers.

  27. I just found your blog through a link from Daughters of the King. I have barely begun to read it, but already I am entranced by your story and your writing. I can’t imagine the suffering you must endure. God bless you, Father!

  28. How do we help? Just a lone voice crying out in the wilderness.
    I am on limited funding, but there must be things to do.

    Hang in there Gordon-you know your Dark Night will come to an end. I have a lot of good friends in Heaven!

  29. Jack Keogh says:

    Thank you for your voice “crying in the wilderness” and for the powerful testimony you offer. You are inspiring and I’ll be keeping you in my prayers.

    Your recent posting “Roman Polanski, Father Marcial Maciel, and the Eye of the Beholder” struck home for me. I spent 20 years in the Legion of Christ with Fr. Maciel. Indeed I was the first Irish Legionary to step foot in Mexico back in 1965. So I completely empathize with your points although there no longer seems to be any doubt as to Fr. Maciel’s guilt.

    He has gone to meet his maker. I choose to dwell rather on teh example of Jesus who didn’t condone the sinful act of the woman taken in adultry- instead, he called for the one without sin to cast the first stone. I take this as an invitation to reflect on ourselves, before we dare to judge others. God bless, Jack

  30. Tresa Clarke says:

    I first heard about you through the Catholic League. The most recent issue has another short reminder about you, so I decided to read your blog.

    It is hard not to ask the why’s…. but I have heard Father John Corapi say so many times… that God permits evil things to happen so that a greater good may come of it.

    I know you are innocent, Father. Please know that I will remember you with each rosary I pray. And may Jesus and Our Blessed Mother continue to protect, bless and guide you in all that you do.

  31. Stephen DeRosa says:

    Just wanted to express my support. I’m keeping you in my prayers. Reading your story and blog reminded me of St. Paul’s letters from prison, the clarity and inspiration. Your blog is a blessed voice of sanity in a too often insane world. May the Lord watch over and bless you always. Steve

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