Father Benedict Groeschel at EWTN: Time for a Moment of Truth

In the media crucible reserved for high profile priests, Father Benedict Groeschel was next in line to be smeared. There’s more to this story, and here it is.

I have known Father Benedict Groeschel for forty years. I began religious life as a Capuchin in the New York Province when Father Groeschel served on the Provincial and formation staffs. He was a mentor and a friend when I was a young man of 22 trying to discern competing calls to the priesthood and religious life. Having completed a novitiate year, I was a young friar bound by simple profession, but left the Capuchins after four years – under very good terms – to commence theological studies in preparation for diocesan priesthood in 1978. Over the ensuing years and decades, Father Benedict Groeschel and I remained in occasional contact.

Fr-Benedict-GroeschelAbout 25 years ago, Father Groeschel and seven other priests broke ranks from the Capuchin order to found the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, a movement that reflected his deeply felt longing to live a life that was outwardly faithful to the spirit of poverty and charism of Saint Francis of Assisi. In the quarter century since, Father Groeschel has gifted the Church with a valiant priestly life marked by self-sacrifice and true Gospel witness. His legacy to the Church as a priest, a friar, an author and lecturer, a psychologist and revered spiritual adviser, is a monument to all that is good and holy in our Church.

Now he has resigned under a cloud from his participation as a host at EWTN. Perhaps it is simply time that he did. Perhaps, at nearly age 80 and having survived a crippling and devastating accident several years ago, age and infirmity have caught up with this good priest. We should not refute his decision to step down, but we who are loyal to any semblance of truth and witness to the Gospel must not allow to stand the cloud of doubt under which he now removes himself from EWTN’s  important television ministry. To paraphrase Sheriff Buford Pusser in my post, “Walking Tall: The Justice Behind the Eighth Commandment,” if we let America’s self-serving, self-righteous, and spiritually bankrupt news media have the last word on Father Benedict Groeschel, “then we give ‘em the eternal right to do the same damn thing to anyone of us!”

I don’t need to reframe and speculate upon the single, out-of-context phrase of Father Groeschel’s that has so roiled the news media and its pundits against him. In my view, his inability to predict the uproar his comment brought about may be evidence enough that his judgment has been compromised by age and infirmity. This entire story should have ended with little more said than that.

There is an irony to all this, however. The truth is that Father Groeschel has long been known among treatment professionals to take a hard line in regard to credible accusations against Catholic priests. He has long been known to advocate for the removal from all public ministry when priests are credibly accused. He has not advocated for forced laicization, a process that simply discards an accused priest, but he has for decades taken a position that no priest known by the Church to have been an abuser can EVER minister in a parish again. The truth is that if Father Benedict Groeschel had been listened to more closely over the decades of the 1980s and 1990s, the scandal of 2002 might have looked very different.

Father Groeschel strongly advocated for strict supervision and strictly enforced internal administrative assignments in all cases in which abuse by a priest was determined to be true. His public and private positions have always been the same, and were the polar opposite of what some in the news media now attribute to him.

A few years after the tidal wave of scandal swept over the Church and priesthood, Father Benedict Groeschel wrote to me in prison. It was shortly after I wrote an article for Catalyst entitled “Sex Abuse and Signs of Fraud” (November, 2005). It was the same article for which Avery Cardinal Dulles asked me to consider writing more frequently as documented in our “About” page. This is a paragraph from Father Groeschel’s 2005 letter:

“For the good of the Church and the priesthood, Father Gordon, I join the voices of others who urge you to stand always by the truth and to proclaim it boldly. Truth is always what will be in the best interest of the Church and priesthood. At the same time, I also want to caution you that not every case involving a priest is like the case against you. Some priests have used their office to commit grave offenses. Some have harmed vulnerable people and have harmed the priesthood and the Church. At the same time, like you, I also stand by efforts to assure a full hearing and due process for all priests who have been accused. False accusations must be immensely painful. I pray for you as you continue to pursue your innocence and expose the whole truth. The Church must face with courage both realities: the falsely accused and the plight of truthful victims of sexual abuse.”

Later in his life, Father Groeschel had the personal courage and integrity to voice concern for a growing proliferation of false claims against many priests, and he stood by them in their hope for justice. He stood by me. He stood by These Stone Walls, and he encouraged me to write. Never for a single moment did he compromise his deeply felt concern for justice for victims of abuse.

The sun must not go down on Father Benedict Groeschel’s good name and stellar priestly life under a cloud inflated by a news media lying in wait for any high profile priest it can smear.  Not this time! I call upon EWTN and all Catholics of faith and conscience to set aside this latest 15 minutes of scandal and honor Father Benedict Groeschel for the courageous life of faithful priestly witness through which he has served the Church selflessly for over a half century. Let’s be loud and clear on this!

IN OTHER NEWS, SOME LOOSE ENDS

My old friend, Jacquie Miles, once wrote in a letter that when I finally get out of prison, modern communications technology may seem very foreign to me. Well, it already does. The old Smith Corona typewriter with which I write TSW posts was manufactured circa 1988. It has an onboard spell check dictionary, and every time it loses its memory – which is more often than I lose mine – I have to re-add certain words such as “blog” and “Internet” and “website,” words that didn’t exist or were rarely used when the machine was made. When I was sent to prison 6,575 days and nights ago, cell phones were rare, blogs did not exist, and websites were numbered only in the thousands. Today there are billions of websites and millions of blogs, all accessible from wireless devices that go where you go – but none of which I’ve ever seen.

There are also thousands of Catholic blogs. They are by no means in competition with each other, but really making a difference in the Catholic online world requires standing out somehow. The Catholic blogs that do stand out become pretty well known – Father Z’s What Does the Prayer Really Say? comes to mind. Some build a loyal readership and are often quoted. Again, Father Z comes to mind. Presenting something new in the online world requires endurance, research and writing skills, and the tools to utilize them.

Bill Wendell, a TSW reader and good friend, once wrote that he is amazed at how much research goes into some of my posts. I felt a little squeamish about this because as a prisoner, I just don’t have the means to do very much research at all. I subscribe to a few good publications. You can likely tell what they are simply by reading my posts to see what articles I refer and link to. For mainstream secular media, I read The Wall Street Journal, and USA Today is passed on to me a day or two late from other prisoners. For Catholic publications, I read the National Catholic Register, Our Sunday Visitor, and, thanks to TSW readers Tom and JoAnn Glenn, Inside the Vatican, an eye-catching Catholic magazine with cutting edge Catholic news that isn’t pious fluff (though I don’t mind the occasional pious fluff).

In early August, I wrote “The Catholic Press Needs to Get Over Its Father Maciel Syndrome.” It came at the height of vacation time for many, so if you missed it, I hope you will catch up. I wrote in that post that most – no, ALL – of the Catholic press completely let pass by news of emerging evidence of fraud and wrongful conviction in my case, and news of a new appeal. At the same time, most of the Catholic press is quick to pounce on the myriad and sordid snippets of priestly scandal for which there seems to be no end. It’s fair enough that they do not shrink from Catholic scandal, but they DO shrink from the other side of that scandal, the story of Catholic priests falsely accused.

In fairness, however, I should point out that although the Catholic press has not covered our new appeal and its new evidence, two fine Catholic publications have had articles citing These Stone Walls. Brian Fraga, a  Catholic writer and journalist, wrote of and quoted from TSW in a feature article for Our Sunday Visitor last year (“Father John Corapi walks away from priestly ministry,” July 10, 2011).  Joan Frawley Desmond, a senior editor for the National Catholic Register – now owned by EWTN – wrote a great article about the challenges faced by falsely accused priests in which she cited TSW (“Priests In Limbo – Part II,” February 17, 2011). The Catholic League journal, Catalyst, has published several articles about my case and These Stone Walls. If you scroll through our “On the Record” page, you will see most of these.

I’m grateful to these courageous writers, and I don’t mean to imply that in the Catholic press, my glass is half empty. It’s indeed half full. The point I wanted to make in my post about the Catholic press is one once made by Winston Churchill: “If you have enemies, it’s because you’ve had the courage to take a stand on something.” The Catholic press should not shy away from the whole truth just to appease the Church’s enemies, especially those who have used the pain of real victims as an anti-Catholic weapon.

TSW 2.0

TSW Web Design

Several months ago, someone sent me a few pages printed from The Crescat blog during its last annual nominations of Catholic blogs that stand out. I was surprised to see that These Stone Walls was one of two finalists for the dubious distinction of “Best Under-Appreciated Catholic Blog.”

I wasn’t sure of how I felt about that until I concluded that it’s probably better to be under-appreciated than over-appreciated. To be the latter would mean that TSW doesn’t really merit the notice that it gets. I guess I’ll take being under-appreciated any day.

These Stone Walls is in the process of undergoing a face lift with a restructuring that will make it easier to navigate and easier on the eyes. Suzanne, our Managing Editor, sent me some screen shots of the new design, and it really is eye catching. Vincenzo, who edits the visually stunning “Sancte Pater” blog has volunteered to assist with TSW graphics.

The reason for the redesign is that These Stone Walls has outgrown its hosting service so we are switching to a host that will better accommodate our increasing number of readers from around the world. The fact that we’re growing is good news for anyone with a voice in the Catholic public square, but especially when it’s a voice in the wilderness like TSW.

Our revised site will also have a prominent link to TSW’s Facebook page which is edited by my good friend, Leo Demers, a devoted Catholic whose career in television broadcast engineering has many milestones. I wrote of Leo once in “Simon of Cyrene, Compelled to Carry the Cross.” Like TSW itself, I have never actually seen the Facebook page, but the messages are sent to me.

As these changes come online over the next few weeks, please be patient with us. These things never go entirely without glitches so we may have a day or two of pages that are slow to load or difficult to view. All the bugs will be ironed out, and it will be worth the effort. I am most grateful to Suzanne for her expertise.

AN OLD FRIEND DEPARTS

I learned while writing this that a dear friend has died. Father Anthony Tran Van Kiem left this life as a faithful and devoted priest and servant of God on June 16 at the age of 92. I had not heard from Father Anthony for over a year and lost touch with him. In his native Vietnam, Father Anthony was a scholar and celebrity in his own right. He was a world renowned expert in an ancient dialect of the Vietnamese language, an author of textbooks, and an historian of his native culture.

Father Anthony emigrated to the United States in 1975. Two years ago, in his late 80s, he was falsely accused of sexual misconduct – a lucrative weapon used against many priests, some guilty but many both innocent and courageous. Father Anthony stood articulately and strongly by the truth. Many of his posted comments on TSW relate his agony at being falsely accused. In the end, however, truth prevailed.

Rev. Anthony Tran Van Kiem – August 22, 2009 at 5:07 pm

From Feb 4 2009 to August 15 2009, my life was a nightmare. A certain man I have baptized more than 25 years ago, charged me with minors’ molestation.

The accusation was flimsy, no date, no precise location…yet I have been deprived of my priestly faculties automatically in compliance with the 2002 Dallas Charter. Later the Chancery felt sorry for me, but kept investigation for six months. Finally the accuser several times cajoled by the Chancellor for more incriminating details gave the diocese a very graphic accusation…and promised a compromising photograph and so on.

All the developments were kept behind my back. Finally after several requests, I am able to put my hands on the dossier on me compiled by the Chancellor. I sent immediately a letter to the Bishop showing him all the most conspicuous holes in the files, and honestly accused the Chancellor for having been my prosecutor instead of my defender.

A few days later the incriminating picture came to be proven a fraud. My priestly faculties have been restored. But I am puzzled to see my accuser walk away Scott free, and my Chancellor send me a merry note, “Rejoice!” No responsibility whatsoever regarding my name’s rehabilitation and therapy for a badly trampled 88 years old innocent.

I praise God for having preserved me from heart attack and insanity. Only thing I can do now is asking you all to have mercy on priests falsely accused.

I have offered Mass for this courageous priest, and I ask you to join me in my prayers for him. May his fellow martyrs now come to welcome him, and guide him in triumph to that Heavenly City, the new and eternal Jerusalem.

About Fr. Gordon J. MacRae

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.” READ MORE

Comments

  1. Karna O'Dea says:

    This is a very late comment. Fr Groeschel is one of the few priests I have a lot of time for. He comes across as decent scholarly and committed. EWTN adulterous abandonment of him due to his one gaff increased my contempt for them. I suspect they would have abandoned Jesus when he spoke out of turn.

    • robert chacon says:

      I was seeking some information regarding Fr. Groeschel to see how he was doing. I was blessed by his presence on EWTN. While I think the way he has been treated in the secular press is disgusting and just demonstrates how the world sees evil as good and good as evil. Some of the so called Catholic press didnt do much better and of course the National NonCatholic Reporter was as bad as the secular press. However, as a devoted follower of EWTN I have little problem with how they handled either Fr. Groeschells or Fr. Corapis cases As a regular EWTN viewer, I could see Frs mental deterioration, and even thought perhaps he should step down before the infamous gaffe. I think his statement simply forced the issue. I was hoping to at least see good bye show or some recognition of his gift over the years on EWTN. I dont see anything so I was disappointed about that. Regarding Fr. Corapi, I think EWTNs decision proved to be the correct assessment of his legitimacy. His decisions to fight his superiors and revelations of his violations of his vow of poverty suggest he was a very imperfect vessel delivering a sound message. Yes, we are all imperfect vessels, but we faithful Catholics , those are given a Catholic sanctioned platform such as EWTN should also be faithful in their virtues of humility , and submission. Fr. Corapi was neither I have to admit. And I was blessed by his presence as well. Like the Church itself., EWTN must present the ideal Catholic morality in its theology as well as the way it is lived out by those who present , especially religious and the priests.. Unfortunately, due to Fr. Groeschells disability, his ability to portray his true goodness has been compromised. And while I am personally willing to give Fr not just an inch but miles and miles of leeway since I have been a follower for years, other newer viewers may not. In any event , his disability, as I said , was becoming more distracting to his message on his program. As for Fr Corapi, his strong presence was awesome. I completely appreciated and thanked God for him. However, the world is looking in at us through the board in its eye to find every splinter in our eyes. If we are ever to have any moral authority to the world or even our weaker members, we MUST have perfectly clean eyes! We should anyway. We look too much like the outside world as it is. We divorce at the same rate, we almost abort at the same rate, etc. And to top it off we have had to endure the scandal of the sexual abuse crisis due to a very small number of disordered or worse, evil priests and their complicit bishops. We are not perfect, but we need to aspire to be saints, and must expect that from those who present the faith in all areas, particularly the media, such as EWTN. EWTN relies solely on viewer contributions. I can hardly blame management from bing concerned about that. I for one, would rather lose a program or two than an entire station because of two unfortunate circumstances. To criticize EWTNs actions as being a result of pandering to its contributors seems inaccurate. Mother Angelica has never shied away from presenting the truth. While Fr. Groeschell preached the truth his entire time on EWTN, he was slipping in other areas. I had to admit that. And while Fr. Corapis doctrine was sound, do you really think Christ would have had followers who were willing to die for HIm if he were no different than the sinners he preached to? Of course not. So the Gospel must be preached in word as well as actions. So God bless Fr. Groeschell, Fr. Corapi! And God bless EWTN and Catholic media obedient to the Church! We are all in this together and we cant let the outside world tear us apart as it so desperately desires to do. And, God bless you Fr. MacRae for you sacrifice and your words about Fr. Groeschell.

      • Howard says:

        I will give EWTN the benefit of the doubt on removing Fr. Groeschel from their live programming. However, I think it is shameful and cowardly — and definitely neither Catholic nor Christian — to have removed all of his prior programs from their online audio library as they have done. By taking this latter step they have spat in his face and erased a lifetime of contributions to their network and the world. EWTN can go rot as far as I’m concerned.

  2. Kathleen says:

    Sad to say but I believe EWTN’s reaction is based on concern for contributions. They treated Fr. Corapi the same way. Fr. Corapi’s monumental work on the Catechism of the Catholic Church has helped many people find their way back to the Church and the faithful understand more fully what the Church teaches. His guilt has never been proven and yet this one-of-a-kind work (televised every Sunday night for years) was sacrificed so that EWTN would not suffer any criticism by its contributors. Even IF Fr. Corapi were to be found guilty, his Catechism talks were approved by the Church as free from error and should continue to be used for the good they effected. Both Fr. Groeschel and Fr. Corapi were faithful to the Church in their evangelizing and their preaching. Their good writings and talks remain good and should only be “off the airwaves” if there were evidence of heresy or false teaching. There is no such evidence. Truth is truth. No personal action by either priest changes the truth they preached. I agree that EWTN should stand up for this truth since the purpose of Mother’s organization is to evangelize and bring as many people to the fold as possible. She was never afraid of controversy when it came to preaching truth. Even if EWTN could not stand behind both priests for fear of scandal, there is no scandal in supporting and televising truth.

  3. Father Omar A. Huesca says:

    Father Benedict has always been an exemple of committed priestly life to me since he directed the canonical retreat that prepared me for priestly ordination thirty-two years ago.

    While Father Benedict has probably been affected by the terrible accident he suffered, his advancing age and other factors, and while granting the original interview which began all the vengeful reaction of the secular media, I beleif that he spoke the truth.

    What is hurtful to me is that EWTN and the newspaper they now own, have acted in a cowardly manner in banishing
    Father Benedict from the air, after the network benefitted for years from Father’s obvious gift. Shame on EWTN for this! It does not, however surprise me, given the prospect of having to face the bitterness of the secular media which would most probably be redirected to anyone who stands by Father Benedict and the truth. But I have to tell you, fellows, if you’re going to talk the talk, sooner or later you are going to have to walk the walk.

    Having said this, does anyone know where I can contact Father Benedict? I want to travel to see him, if it is allowed, and honor a good friend, a faithful priest and a son of Francis.

    Fr. Omar A. Huesca

    • Cathy Hickey says:

      St Joseph’s Home for the elderly, totowa, NJ

      • Ann Smith says:

        Dear Cathy Hickey,

        Thank you ever so much for your kindness…giving information on where Father Groeschel is now living! I hope and pray people will respond to him with the warmth and caring he certainly does deserve! I think he has been a walking SAINT, since the very age of seven years old!!

        Do you happen to know, if he is allowed visitors? I would also appreciate it… if you might be able to let me know where Totowa New Jersey is, I would greatly appreciate the information, if your able?

        He IS, truly a HOLY PRIEST! Don’t anyone look at fruits of a man’s character anymore…the only thing he is guilty of… is getting old…how VERY SAD, is that!!! Humbly, I have followed his life’s fruits for many, many years, know wonder, Mother Teresa loved him, AND, a few other thousand’s, and thousands… of people’s, who just happened to love him too; Catholic, and other’s a like!!! Thank you SO much! I guess the TRUTH is in the pudding isn’t it!

        God’s BLESSINGS to YOU!
        “Friends of Bernadette”
        Ann Smith

  4. Nina Sidorova says:

    Hi friends, my close friend met Father Benedict in a Foster House, after his parents died and he and his seven brothers and sisters were left without a parent support. Father Benedict became an angel-parent for him, who was eight years old when he met Father Benedict. He describes Father Benedict as the most kind, poorest, honest, and wonderful people he ever knows. Father Benedict prayed for him, supported him, and wrote him letters when he was a soldier in Vietnam.

    Father Benedict baptized his two babies, whom his wife and he adapted more then twenty years ago. In a few years after that, his wife’s died from cancer, and he himself raised two children. Father Benedict gave all his money to him (about twenty thousands), which allow him to take care of children properly. He promised to return money to Father Benedict; however, he was not able to do so, and this fact make him suffers. Now, one his children graduated from university, and the second is in college. he has resided in Los Gatos, Ca.

    You would not imagine friends; I met Father Benedict in California a few times when he came to Californian monastery, near Santa Cruz. My friend introduced me to Father Benedict. His children admire Father Benedict, and of course he did not tell yet them what Father Benedict did for them. Father Benedict never mentioned anything about money or his other support when he met his family in a Californian monastery. My name is Nina, and I am an Orthodox Christian, but I tell you Guys that Father Benedict is a holy person! God Bless him!

    I want you to remember that now is the time when a dark side attack true Christians, especially holy people such as Father Benedict, who shines very brightly and who spreads Jesus’ truth to people! They set up the situations in order to falsely accuse Christians, and they mastered in creations of provocations against the true Christians. Please, remember it! Let us support Father Benedict and pray for him! I told you, friends, that Father Benedict gave all his money to John to raise children. Maybe, now he needs financial help; please, those of you who know him, who can, and who is near HELP Father Benedict!

    With my blessings to all of you,
    Nina

  5. Fr. Gordon J. MacRae says:

    From Mary: Thank you, Father, for your excellent article. My family has decided to give all future donations to the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal instead of EWTN. We don’t know if Father Groeschel made those comments or not and it was wrong for that article to be printed. God Bless Father Groeschel and you, Father MacRae!

    • Patricia A. Oglesby says:

      But withholding future donations is not the way to show disapproval and I am sure Father Groeschel would be the first tell you so!
      EWTN is merely doing what it always does: remaining orthodox and loyal to the Magesterium in this crazy secular world we live in

      • Dorothy R. Stein says:

        I agree that EWTN is loyal and faithful to the Magisterium just as it should be. But I also know that there have been few as consistently faithful to the Church and Magisterium as Father Benedict Groeschel and Father Gordon MacRae. This is not about fidelity. This story is about blatant violations of charity. EWTN is a very important media presence in and for the Church, and they must treat Father Groeschel with justice and with fairness. I believe their management cowered in the harsh glare of a spotlight, and took the road too often taken – the one that appeases SNAP and the contingency lawyers and the secular media all lying in wait for any and every high profile priest to trip and fall. Father MacRae presented this masterfully and with a challenge to us all, including EWTN.

        • Charles De Marco says:

          I agree that EWTN has been a beaccon of light in maintaining the true Catholic faith. However, EWTN should have given Father Benedict a chance to explain his comments. Father Benedict has been and is a holy priest who has given his all in spreading the good news of the gospel and in dedicated service to the poor I am very disappointed in the management of EWTN. I pray more charitable heads will prevail.

      • Cliff Welden says:

        Telecare (the other Catholic TV network) still shows Fr Benedict. I watched him last night in fact and that is what led me to this blog.

      • Kathleen Riney says:

        I met Mother Angelica in Houston, Tx., in 1977. She had just acquired a Printing Press & it was a 1st class Miracle. She would be appalled at the way EWTN has been taken over!! Talk about Controversy!! Mother A. took on Bishop Malony! She was miraculously cured, her back & legs, in the midst of this attack on her by the Bishop! That didn’t even slow him down!! When a woman, nude, under a ‘gossamer robe’ portrayed Christ on the Cross in Denver, Co., It was Mother Angelica who fired off the first rounds!! First thing she did was have all of her Sisters, put their Full Habits back on!! She is not the kind of woman that would WANT EWTN to continue the way it is!!

  6. Fr. Gordon J. MacRae says:

    From Babs: I am sorry to see any part of my beloved Church (e.g., EWTN) resorting to cannibalism.

  7. Michael S. says:

    ……..Father Groeschel has always been an inspiration to me….I know what was said was taken out of context, but that’s how the media operates………..take it from someone whose family was in the media business for about 100 years……….regretfully ……….I had to be taught as a young child “never believe what you read in a newspaper or see on TV”………thank you Father Benedict…….you’re in my prayers now and since your accident !!!!!!! If you were a politician your apology would have been accepted in the “media”!!!!!!!!!
    Michael S.

  8. Dorothy R. Stein says:

    I encourage everyone who reads this post to send a link to it to EWTN. They need to know that there are many Catholics who are not standing in readiness to tar and feather every priest who missteps. Here is the message I just sent to EWTN editors:

    To Editor@EWTN.com:
    Dear friends at EWTN, I have long admired your network since the days of Mother Angelica’s heroic launching of it. EWTN has long proven itself to be a crucial voice in the American Catholic public square.

    Now, however, I cannot help but feel that you have compromised your voice through your treatment of Father Benedict Groeschel. I call upon EWTN to rethink this matter. You appear to have shed all evidence that he was ever associated with EWTN. This behavior is shameful and appears to be an act of utter cowardice. Please read with utmost urgency this link to the most sanity I have read on the topic of Father Benedict Groeschel’s expulsion from EWTN: “Father Benedict Groeschel at EWTN: Time for a Moment of Truth.”

  9. Judy Stefencavage says:

    This has gathered a lot of interest and anger! I am surprised at EWTN, they have turned out to be embarrassingly quick on the draw to dismiss Fr. Groeschel and his year
    So now I am embarrassed as a Catholic at the fact that they never took into consideration what you have said here dear father and what Fr. Byers says on his blog over at the Holy Souls Hermitage.
    What happened to forgivness and love?

    Fr Groeschel has been an inspiration to me as is his books. And I do agree that his age/and health has a lot to do with things said/or unsaid. Some of us are so so quick to just judge and turn away. Fr Groeschel has my prayers as do you Father MacRae.

  10. Thanks for being a priest’s priest, Father Gordon.

    This encouraged me to write a defense of Father Groeschel on the Holy Souls Hermitage blog, analyzing two sentences and tearing apart some nefarious cutting and pasting by CNA and EWTN.

    Prayers and blessings in solidarity. I beg yours.

    Father George

  11. bt says:

    I don’t know what Fr. Groeschel intended to say, but I do know what Jesus said to the woman caught in the act of adultery.

  12. M.P. Martinez says:

    In defense of Fr. Groeschel, I would like to offer three important factors should be considered.
    1. Comments regarding Fr. Groeschel’s health (i.e., the car accident and his recent fall) failed to include his recent stroke(s) of approximately a year ago. Given his age, the head trauma he has suffered and the stroke(s), it would be of no surprise to anyone that he is most probably suffering from dementia. As Fr. Groeschel himself said in his statement, he has not been as mentally adept as he had been in the past. He was even unable to continue doing his Sunday Night program solo for the last year or so and anybody listening to him would have surely noted that his speech pattern was way off (as was no doubt his mental capacity). If EWTN and the Franciscan Order of the Renewal were careful enough to provide him with help for his program (i.e., cohosts and other Friars at the ready), why on earth did they ever allow him to give this interview alone or for that matter why did they allow him to give the interview at all. * EWTN and his order failed him miserably. *

    2. I am also VERY upset at the National Catholic Register for jumping on this story and putting it on their web site. Yes, I know they offered an apology…too little, too late….his reputation and his legacy is in ruins. Mainstrium media has been rightly condemned i.e., Good Morning America, the New York Times, and other news venues for running with this story…but the National Catholic Register provided the fodder. And they are part of EWTN…what a betrayal!

    3. It saddens me so very much that all evidence of our beloved Fr. Groeschel has been unceremoniously yanked from the EWTN web site. None of his lectures or sermons are available anymore. The EWTN web site and the EWTN YouTube channel also pulled everything to do with Fr. Groeschel. Why could they have not left his work for all those who could continue to benefit from his wisdom? In the case of YouTube they had only to disable all comments to keep the sick from submitting their vile, ugly venom. By “dumping” Fr. Groeschel, I feel that EWTN has abandoned him and all his good works.

    Since this mess broke, I have offered many rosaries and Divine Mercy chaplets for Fr. Groeschel and his community as I am sure many others have done as well. I am greatly distressed for Fr. Groeschel. My only consolation is that this may be the final cross he will have to carry on his path toward sanctification. I hope that somehow he will know that he will always be loved and admired by the many who learned and benefited from his great body of work as a faithful priest and teacher.

    • Ann Smith says:

      WHAT A MASTERPIECE…INDEED!!!! THANK YOU, and God Bless you!! I blame most of this on the “NEWS” Due to such SAD HATRED on

      our BEAUTIFUL CHURCH; ( bottom line), and, for all GOOD people, who our just humbly trying… to be good for the sake of God’s glory and man kind! Father Groeschel, is …a TRUE HOLY ICON of “OUR” Holy Catholic Church!

  13. ILoveGod333 says:

    Many years ago my parish had a retreat host by Franciscan Friars of the Renewal. My mother told me about them and said I should go, it would be worth my time and energy and that one of the most brilliant priest of our church will be there Fr. Groeschel and I shouldn’t miss this event. At the time I was suffering from Panic attacks that were greatly limiting my life. I was married with two young boys and wanted to get better but did not accept the idea of taking medication, I was at the time anti-medication and fought the idea completely. I went to the event and it had such an effect on me…I remember one of the priests from Franciscan Friars of the Renewal Fr. Glen Sodano gave mass and as he was consecrating the host I was filled with the Holy Spirit and this gifted priest to me transformed before my eyes to Jesus Christ, well I couldn’t stop crying and walk away with the true believe that JESUS is truly present in the Holy Eucharist…That night they had confession and a woman on line started to talk to me about the same experience she had at that mass, she too could not stop crying! As I entered confession booth I realized I got another gift from GOD Fr. Groeschel would hear my confession…we’ll we talk about so much, he didn’t rush me. I told him about my panic attacks and how it was limiting my life..we talked about medication and how I owed to my wife and children to at least try it, that GOD did not want me to live a limited life…he also told me about a nun who had a phobia of speaking in public and he advised her to take medication and she was able to speak in public after going on medication…needless to say I respected his advice and went on medicine. I since have had many wonderful experiences that I would have avoided if I didn’t take Fr. Groeschel advise…So I want to say THANK YOU FATHER for being there for me and I will always love you.
    Your truly a great priest that made such an impact on my life and my families, may the Blessed Mother hold you in her arms and may GOD always bless you in this life and in the next.

    LoveAlways
    Andrew

  14. Mary Ann says:

    Fr. Groechel, My husband and I watched you faithfully each week and we miss you so much. We love you and pray for you. We are the same age as you father and it was always refreshing to hear the interesting stories that gave us hope and strengthened our faith. God Bless you everyday. J.M.J.

  15. Eugene Demianczuk says:

    I wrote the enclosed e-mail when I first hear the news. The answer I received was: ” we understand your concern….??”. As you can see by my e-mail I fully agree with your views. God Bless you.
    Eugene Demianczuk

    Aug 31 (13 days ago)

    to editor
    There are no apologies that can erase the harm done. It is almost incredible that a Catholic media outlet did not have the sufficient clarity to understand that the statements of Father Groeschel were not reflective or consistent with his wonderful and dedicated Cristian life. Evil was serve and is rejoicing. Huffington Post, New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, NBC, no one for a second stop to think that those statements come from a person of advance age, that suffered a severe accident not so long ago and above all dedicated his life to serve others in the name of Jesus. I believe you should have a writer, one much better, then me… clarify this issue and explain why a statement that was given by a person, likely with limited control of his faculties was published and presented in face value.

  16. We love you Fr. G! All you endure you do in Christ Our Lord! All the glory for HIM! One day heaven for you! The sufferings are great and the rewards t come will be seeing all the good that God has done through you! What a tremendous catalyst you are and have been! many have been saved because you desired God’s will and to be used in the saving of souls! No one can take away all the good that continues to come through your heart and soul for it is good fruit that will be everlasting!
    We pray for you always!
    -sister anne sophie/Society of the Body of Christ

  17. Paulineo says:

    I love Fr. Groeschel, and it has pained me to watch him struggling with words and very often, it seemed to me that he had difficulty in breathing. He has served the Church valiantly and faithfully.

    That person, John D, who thinks that EWTN is a LIBERAL sounding-board, must be living on another planet, or else he has lost his wits!! He sounds like one of “Fr. Gruner’s ” mob!!

    Pray and make sacrifices for our priests; make hours of adoration and pray many rosaries.

    God love you, Fr. MacRae

  18. Charitt Torres says:

    Those who truly seek the truth will know and understand what Fr. Groeschel was trying to say. He is one of the more obviously “holy” priests I have ever been blessed to listen to and whose statements I trust to be truth, or at least, in pursuit of truth. He resigns not under a cloud as far as I am concerned, but one who is truly HUMBLE and has full dignity before God. We can only hope and pray that there will be more like him representing truth and REAL JUSTICE.

  19. susan says:

    Father Groeshel is and always will be a light to us all! Our Heavenly Father knew what he was doing when he send us such a holy priest!!
    It brings a sadness to my heart to read anything negative about this wonderful man! Let him know that he has people who deeply respect him and will always remember the great good he has done for all by his words of wisdom and the sharing of the love of Jesus Christ!!!!! Best wishes and Blessings Father Groeshel!!!!!

  20. Abby says:

    The sad thing is that I think he wanted to say that because of the loss of father figures in their lives many young women became pathetically willing to trade sexual favors for paternal attention…I saw this as an RN and later as a social worker…

  21. Hope Hederson says:

    When Sunday night comes there is not one program on EWTN that can replace Fr. Groeshel. I travelled with him on mission to Slovakia in 2002 and I saw the truth being spoken to Seminarians that was awe inspiring. When he was in the accident in Florida I wrote daily to the Franciscan Friars to pray about his condition. Fr. Groeshel you have done nothing wrong and the Lord Jesus knows that, if only the media wasn`t so condemning.
    Blessings of Peace and Joy
    Hope Hedderson

  22. epifania roshanzamir says:

    Dear Fr. Macrae,
    Thank God for your website.
    I don’t listen to the media when it comes to reports about our church. I know that our church, no church, is perfect. I don’t fully understand the comments made by Fr. Groeschel. I will always hold him in high regard. he has contributed a lot to the church. God bless him. God bless you. we should only be concerned on how we are in God’s eyes.

  23. Diana Lee says:

    As I fell asleep last night, I was wondering why EWTN, hadn’t defended Fr. Groeschel. So I was so happy to see your article this morning. I’m not even a reporter or write for any news agency. As soon as I read the first question and Fr. Groeschel’s answer, I knew something was very wrong and there was a disconnect in his thinking. I knew it had to be due to his age and accident. The NCR interviewer should have recognized it too! Even on Sunday Night Live I noticed recently, he had a little trouble connecting thoughts and made small incorrect statements that his guest(s) politely stated correctly. THANK YOU FOR DEFENDING HIM. For all he has done for the Church and the poor, he shouldn’t need defending. He is a holy priest. If he is reading this….WE LOVE YOU FR. GROESCHEL and YOU ARE IN OUR PRAYERS. AMEN.

  24. John Warwick says:

    We looked forward to see and hear Father Benedict every Sunday evening on EWTN. Then he surprised us one day by coming to a local church, Mother of Sorrows, in Murrysville Pa. to holds a men’s and women’s two day retreat. A wonderful experience to hear him in person. We will never forget that visit and remember his beautiful words directed to men one day and to women the next.
    Stay with Father Gordon, LORD, for writing this article to set the world straight on this Holy Saintly Priest.

  25. Domingo says:

    Thanks, Fr G, for this post. Your post deserves every inch of it. My high regard for Fr B Groeschel always is.

    The Year of Faith will soon be upon us. Through the grace of our Lord Jesus CHRiST, may we keep our vigilance and remain FAITHful to the Truth.

    I have been amiss attending your Sunday Mass, Fr G, but know that your name is mentioned in my prayers.

  26. DeeSusan says:

    Father, It grieves me when I hear of the priestly ‘scandals.’ It seems to be open season for Priests everywhere. I am sure in my heart than many (perhaps most) of the accusations are false.
    But on the other hand every Priest is human and has flaws. So if the devil wants to blow something out of proportion or outright LIE about things, who could stand against the accusations?

    Jesus said that some demons could only be cast out by PRAYER AND FASTING. Do you suppose, Father, that if your fans would set aside one day a week to say a few extra prayers and perhaps fast a little, that it would help? Do you suppose that they would consider doing such a thing? Would you consider suggesting it?

    God bless you Father, I send you my fond prayers. You are doing God’s will. He says. My ways are nto your ways. (for sure)

  27. John D. says:

    EWTN has not been a good friend of real Catholics since Mother Angelica was forced out by Cardinal Mahony. It is now run almost entirely be ex-protestants and is really a liberal “catholic” mouthpiece. The National Catholic register, which it now owns was/is a fairly good paper but if you want real catholicism instead of EWTN’s watered down syncretistic brand, you should try, “The Remnant” and “Catholic Family News.” Why anyone expected EWTN to support Fr. Groschel is a mystery to me…

  28. Liz says:

    Priests are suffering terribly right now. It’s awful.

    God bless Fr. Groeschel and his love for Holy Mother Church! May his reward be great in heaven.

    God bless you too, Fr. Gordon. I lit a candle for you and for Pornchai (and the others there) this a.m. after mass. I hope you are well!

  29. TheresaEH says:

    Father B Groeschel also suffered a slight stroke not that long ago. I remember a dear lady in a nursing home who had suffered from a stroke, who was an old fashioned lady, beautiful in every way, but after the stroke the language that came out of her mouth would make a sailor blush!!!!
    Fathers only crime is getting old, and poor editing on the part of the writer of the article that has caused his crucifiction!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    praying for all involved and now for you.

  30. JMJ says:

    Father Groeschel spoke the truth and of course, we still don’t want the truth as it rocks the boat of our small limited knowledge. Sure, he should have explained just what he was trying to say in a better way; but of course, that wouldn’t really have mattered as we are just like St. Peter (before he was filled with the Holy Spirit) and Jesus rebuked him with those words to get behind Me as you are thinking as man and not as of God. +JMJ+

  31. sean maloney says:

    Alicia Colon a columist of the old NY SUN now with the online newspaper Irish Herald Examiner was a close aquantence of FR. Groeschel and she wrote about his accident and his firm belief in the sruggle of good against evil. She would be a good person to interview since she is in the media business and is fully aware of the agendas and biases(a conservative Hispanic women that knew the difference between social good deeds and social justice fraud). Father Gordon should correspond with her regarding his case for justice and to shine a correct light on Father Groeschel life work.

  32. I’ve always been a fan of Fr. Groeschel. I purchase his books and pass them around and they have helped me on many occasions. I’m not sure his comments were represented fairly and I will never cease to pray for this man who has helped me so much through the years.

    Many years ago Sr. Angelica got in trouble for criticizing a bishop. She was correct but had to back down. I think Fr. Groeschel deserves a fair hearing in the public square. He has much more experience as a psychologist and a confessor than all of us an may know more real stories than we will ever know.

    God bless you, Father.

  33. Esther says:

    Mahalo nui loa for writing about Fr. Groeschel, Father G!!! We should all be grateful to Father Groeschel for everything he taught and addressed on his EWTN program. I had the privilege of meeting him once in NJ. It was right before his accident. He is in my prayers.

    Also, praying for Father Anthony, may he rest in peace.

    God bless you dear Father!!

  34. Anita says:

    I agree wholeheartedly with this article. I personally know a priest who was falsely accused and retired from priesthood, at his archbishop’s advice. The athiestic press we have in this country is bent on destroying the Catholic church, but we know that the “gates of hell shall not prevail against it”
    Why do they make such an issue of Fr. Groeschel’s comments, when Pat Robertson is constantly making outlandish comments and he is just passed over without further consideration. Fr. Groschel at least has his age and health problems to consider as to why he said, what he said.

  35. Amen! Amen, Father.

  36. Bran says:

    Fr. MacRae, Regarding Fr. Groeschel, you have stated my sentiments exactly. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us. Many prayers for you, too. Peace be with you…

  37. E. Downie says:

    God Bless you Father and Fr. Groeschel. i to will pray for both of you.

  38. They need to put Fr. Groeschel’s Shows back on TV and Radio, his Rosary and his repeated shows…He only speaks the Truth even with his Stroke..We Need Father Groeschel back on the Air Waves even if it’s repeats..We love you Father Groeschel and May God Bless him abundantly.

  39. Cheralyn says:

    Father Gordon,

    I will keep Father Anthony Van Tram Kiem in Prayer, may he rest in peace. There are several of us trying very hard to somehow get this zero tolerance rule looked at. I’ve been doing research for over a year now. Father I have 300 people from my Diocese, that want to help you our 300 falsely accused Priests. Please don’t lose hope, I promise we’re working on it. Prayer in action is our motto. God bless you, thank you for being an honest voice!

    Yours in Christ,

    Cheralyn

  40. FRANK DIAS says:

    FATHER GORDON, MY PRAYERS ARE SAID IN ADORATION 2 TO 3 TIME A WEEK.
    I LOVE TO LISTEN TO FR. GROECHEL ROSARY, TWICE DAILY AND FOR A LONG TIME
    WHILE COMMUTING TO WORK.. THE ROSARY BROUGHT ME BACK TO THE CHURCH
    STRONGER THROUGH OUR BLESSED MOTHER… GOD BLESS YOU AND AFTER READING FATHER PIO,S BOOKS PRAY, HOPE AND DON,T WORRY. I AM MUCH AT
    PEACE.. GOD KEEP YOU SAFE.
    FRANK DIAS, SAN JOSE, CA

  41. Mary Jean Scudieri says:

    Hi Father Gordon!
    If only the media put the same amount of energy into finding the truth as they do fabricating smear tactics!
    I’m waiting for one of these to start calling themselves Vulture News….!
    Former president Clinton is “worshiped” by the media as seen
    during the DNC ( the same DNC that denied God 3 times )
    I don’t need to go into his former deeds!
    Double standards…and I quote from another much maligned person…..”you betcha!”
    I will continue to pray, for Fr. Groeschel, For the soul of Fr. Anthony, and for you of course, dear Father!
    I also pray for those in your care, Pornchai and the boys!
    Father Anthony’s story makes me think of my friend, Fr. Dom.
    They are still sitting on his life as well.
    May God bless you all and may God have mercy on us for what we have done to His beautiful world!

  42. Ana says:

    Fr., I just said a Hail Mary for you. I will include you always in our nightly prayers that include priests and seminarians.

  43. Babs says:

    Father MacRae, God bless you, Father Groeschel, and Father Anthony. Indeed lost things have been found, and are being found. Continuing prayers going up for vindication and mercy for you.
    Very best,
    Barbara

    • Barbara Edsall says:

      I would like to add to my earlier comment.

      Today, Oct. 24, I got lost trying to find the post office in a neighboring town. By the time I had gotten it right, I was a little shook up. To whom would I go but to my Blessed Virgin Mother? Around my second Hail Mary, I flipped the radio on–it’s tuned to Catholic Radio–and heard the blessed voice of Father Groeschel, saying the Rosary. I only get to listen to radio occasionally, in the car, but almost instant calm came to me hearing that voice and those prayers.

      This prompted me to call the radio station when I got home, and make a modest donation, telling them exactly why. Unfortunately, EWTN didn’t get a donation today.

      God bless, keep and free you, Father Gordon.

      Rejoicing in hope,
      “Babs”

  44. Mary Elizabeth says:

    Fr. Groeschel was a favorite of mine for a long time on EWTN. He was one of my “go to” priests for a good talk, some inspiration. I liked him. I noticed after his last bout of serious illness which caused his lapses in speech, that it was getting very tough to carry on interviews. I could see how EWTN was trying to accomodate his age and infirmity as long as possible. He has always been too good a priest and too good a host to just toss him aside. If ever there was a priest who was faithful and true, not only to the Church, but to Mother Angelica and EWTN, it was Fr. Groeschel. Many people will miss his presence.

    I am so sorry for the sufferings of so many people, especially our priests who suffer unjustly. Now, Fr. Groeschel joins the ranks. We who love you guys suffer too. But every time I start to complain, even silently, Christ reminds me that ” My grace is sufficient”.

    God bless you Fr. MacRae. Thanks for another fine post.

  45. Dino Csarotto says:

    Dear Fr MacRae,
    Heartfelt thanks for setting the record straight about Fr B Groeschel. My family and I keep you in our prayers and
    are impatiently waiting for justice to be done. In most Law Court
    buildings there are statues of Justice in the shape of a blindfolded
    woman. It will cost too much to have all these statues changed
    to reflect a blindfolded, lame and dying woman….more’s the pity.
    God bless , Dino Casarotto & family, Eindhoven, The Netherlands

  46. Karin says:

    Dear Fr. Gordon,
    I am really glad you posted about Fr. Groeschel. I have always respected him and enjoyed listening to him, not to mention his wonderful books. The fact that the media, predictably, had a field day with this is proof not only of the the lack of respect for the priesthood, but also for our aging~priests and lay alike.
    I will keep the soul of Fr. Anthony in my prayers, and always, prayers for you and all the men there.
    God bless.

    • Gina LePore says:

      Father Groeschel is the most Humble, Holy and Devout person I have ever met in my life… He has helped so many people throughout his entire life… and has given so much to Explain our Catholic Faith. Therefore, I don’t think he should be criticized for anything he said while he was in ill health.. Fr. Groeschel’s Brilliance is shown in his many beautiful books which illuminates our faith….Gina Lepore

  47. Kelly says:

    When I first heard about what happened with Fr, Groeschel, there wasn’t one moment I thought any differently of him than always. Anyone who had listened to his teaching over the years would know hisclearly stated positions. We all knew he had suffered a stroke. He plainly spoke of his difficulty in communicating clearly. It should have been a foregone conclusion that his statements had no scandalous or malicious intent. Good grief, people!
    But of course it is just become a pop culture badge of honor to pounce upon a well loved figure in the Catholic world and attempt to tear his reputation to shreds.
    He has my heartfelt prayers. I hope he rises to sainthood someday.
    Thank you Father for writing this article. I may echo it a bit on my own blog. We all need to stand together to resist the strengthening tide of secularism that would like nothing better than to wash all religion away.
    God Bless you.
    +JMJ+

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