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
On September 23, 1994, Father Gordon MacRae, a priest of the Diocese of Manchester, NH, was confined to a prison cell to begin a sentence of sixty seven years in the New Hampshire State Prison. At this writing, he is 66 years old now. The crimes for which he is imprisoned for life were alleged to have occurred when he was between 25 and 30 years old. Brought with no evidence or corroboration whatsoever, the claims were accompanied by monetary demands which his diocese settled for hundreds of thousands of dollars despite evidence of fraud.
“In the course of my 1994 trial, and while sentenced to life in prison, and during State and habeas corpus appeals I have never been allowed to utter a single word in my own defense. In 2011 a two-part documentary video was made of my testimony. It went missing for several years and has just turned up.” – Father Gordon MacRae
In 2013, Dorothy Rabinowitz, a Pulitzer Prize winning writer on The Wall Street Journal Editorial Board, published “The Trials of Father MacRae,” her third major installment in a series of articles recounting the perversion of justice by which Father MacRae was tried and convicted. It is a story, as described by the late 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 claims, an assertion of truth for which he has paid a very high price. Had he accepted one of several well documented pre-trial “plea deals” offered by the State, he could have left prison after one year. For standing by the truth, Father MacRae now serves a draconian prison term more than sixty times the sentence that would have been imposed had he in fact been guilty or willing to pretend so. As Dorothy Rabinowitz observed in The Wall Street Journal:
“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.”
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 has been selected by Our Sunday Visitor as Readers Choice for the Best of the Catholic Web in the area of Spirituality, and as a second place finalist for Best Catholic Blog at About.com. These Stone Walls and Father Gordon MacRae have been cited in numerous books and articles in both Catholic and secular publications.
These Stone Walls and Father MacRae’s defense are sponsored by the National Center for Reason and Justice, and endorsed and promoted by the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights and numerous organizations dedicated to civil rights, civil liberties, and justice reform.
These Stone Walls is dedicated in memory of Avery Cardinal Dulles and Father Richard John Neuhaus, and published under the spiritual patronage of Saint Maximilian Kolbe, Saint John Marie Vianney and Saint Padre Pio. All were champions of truth, justice, and fidelity.
For further information on the case of Father Gordon MacRae, consult the following links:
- Teresa Tomeo of Ave Maria Radio interviews Bill Donohue of the Catholic League: The Ordeal of Father Gordon MacRae
- The Trials of Father MacRae – by Dorothy Rabinowitz, The Wall Street Journal
- Dorothy Rabinowitz Interviewed on the Case of Father Gordon MacRae: Watch the video here.
- The Father Gordon J. MacRae Story: Injustice in New Hampshire – by Ryan A. MacDonald
- National Center for Reason and Justice
- Alarming New Evidence May Exonerate Imprisoned Priest – by David F. Pierre, Jr.
- The Ordeal of Father MacRae by Bill Donohue (Catalyst October 2013)
- “Mercy to the Max” the Divine Mercy Story of Pornchai Maximilian Moontri