Welcome to These Stone Walls
“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
“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.
On September 23, 2012, Rev. Gordon MacRae will mark eighteen years in a cell in the New Hampshire State Prison. Father MacRae is 59 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 by readers of Our Sunday Visitor as “2010 Readers’ Choice for the Best of the Catholic Web.”
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:
- National Center for Reason and Justice
- Alarming New Evidence May Exonerate Imprisoned Priest – by David F. Pierre, Jr.
- WMUR-TV News on Father Gordon MacRae Case (takes a moment to load)
- How Psychotherapists Helped Send an Innocent Priest to Prison – by Ryan A. MacDonald