When Priests Are Falsely Accused Part 1: The Mirror of Justice Cracked

Stung by claims of cover-up when abuse was alleged in the past, Church leaders and some treatment professionals now set aside the rights of accused priests.

This is Part 1 of a 3-part series.  Click here for Part 2 and Part 3.

Are you sick of stories about the sex abuse scandal? I sure am. I’ve been treading water in this deluge for over sixteen years. In August, Our Sunday Visitor Publisher Greg Erlandson read my mind when he wrote, “Sick of clerical abuse stories? We are too,” (OSV, August 15). It was a bit ironic that in the same issue, These Stone Walls was profiled in OSV’s “2010 Readers’ Choice for the Best of the Catholic Web” (OSV In Focus, August 15).

A letter published in a subsequent issue of OSV (August 29) pointed out that “the Church is not just an easy target for the slurs of Jay Leno and the [New York] Times. It’s also an easy target for lawyers and false claimants looking to score a windfall.” Of my own situation, the letter writer asserted,

“To paraphrase the Gospel parable, this priest was beaten by robbers and left on the side of the road in our Church. A growing number of Catholics have become unwilling to pass him by, no matter how sick we are of the sex abuse story.”

I’m grateful to see such letters. Writer Ryan MacDonald had one in a recent issue of Homiletic & Pastoral Review. He wrote about These Stone Walls and the case against me, but in a few superb paragraphs he summed up the great danger posed to priests when Catholics are so sick of this story that they stop looking. He agreed to let me use part of his HPR essay:

“Many of the faithful are scandalized yet again when beloved priests disappear in the night, presumed by their shepherds to be guilty of crimes claimed to have occurred two, three, or four decades earlier. Many accused priests have been simply abandoned by their bishops and fellow clergy. Church laws governing their support and defense have been routinely set aside, and many have languished under dark clouds of accusation for years. Some, far too many, have been summarily dismissed from the priesthood at the behest of their bishops without due process or adequate civil or canonical defense.

The Puritan founders of New England would approve of the purging of the priesthood that is now underway, for it is far more Calvinist than Catholic.” (HPR, June/July 2010).

Those are powerful words, and they are the truth. If you wonder about the impact on fair-minded Catholics of conscience when their priests are so accused, please take a few moments to read the comments on my post, “The Exile of Father Dominic Menna.” Father Dom is an 81-year-old Boston priest who was removed from ministry and forced to move from his home a few months ago while the Archdiocese “investigates” a claim of sexual abuse alleged to have occurred in 1959 when Father Menna was 29 years old. That’s the problem with a “zero tolerance” policy. As the media-fueled lynch mob settles down, and people begin to think for themselves again, zero tolerance seems a lot more like zero common sense.

Fr-Dominic-MennaAs I pointed out in my post on Roman Polanski, “The Eye of the Beholder,” The Boston Globe acted true to form with front-page coverage of Father Menna’s exile while virtually burying the story that Switzerland declined to extradite Roman Polanski in a real case of child rape from which he fled the country. The Archdiocese of Boston was “ground zero” of the Church’s sex abuse scandal in 2002, but now many in Boston question whether they are ready to accept the character assassination of good priests like Father Menna just because someone sees a chance for a financial windfall. More on that next week.

The Boston Globe’s Spotlight Team may have won a Pulitzer for its 2002 archeological expedition into ancient claims against priests, but its target wasn’t sexual abuse. I can prove that, and already have. A problem with sensational media “spotlight” reports is that they focus an intense beam in one place while leaving the rest of the story in darkness. Have a second look, please, at “Scandal and the News Media: William McGurn Told the Truth” for the story the Globe left behind.

Are Civil Liberties for Priests Intact?” After I wrote that post several months ago, I received a letter from a Florida priest who wrote that he would never have even considered contacting me until he, too, was falsely accused. His letter was very candid. He wrote of his presumption that I and most priests accused must have been guilty of something for the spotlight of accusation to land on us. He presumed this, he wrote, until two men he never even heard of filed demands for compensation claiming abuse at his hands two decades earlier. Now he’s living in his sister’s guestroom, without income, and barred from ministry pending an “investigation” that he fears will be little more than a settlement negotiation with him as an unrepresented pawn. The lawyers for his diocese are meeting with the lawyers for the claimants, but the accused priest cannot afford a lawyer. Like many priests so accused, he is entirely excluded from the closed-door settlement discussions. More on that next week, too!

The priest wrote to me because his bishop and diocese are demanding that he submit to a psychological assessment at a treatment center for accused priests, and he doesn’t know what to do. It’s an all too familiar story. This priest knows that when I was accused I was working in ministry at one such facility as its Director of Admissions. I mentioned this in my post, “Mirror of Justice, Mother of God.” I made some suggestions to this priest that he should find helpful. He needs to be very cautious because he’s in grave peril. I speak from experience, and I’ll describe why below.

ZERO TOLERANCE OF INNOCENCE

“An ignorant, self-mutilating psychopath!” As I described in “Saints Alive! Padre Pio and the Stigmata,” this is how one treatment professional representing the Church labeled Padre Pio, sight unseen, after he was falsely accused for the second time of abusing women in the confessional. The claims eventually fell apart, but not before it became clear how much some in the Church WANTED to believe them because of a cynical agenda to discredit Padre Pio.

In comments on that post, some readers wrote that they had been unaware of the extent to which Padre Pio suffered at the hands of fellow priests and Church leaders. This aspect of his life was minimized in public awareness for a long time, but I believe it’s important for Church leaders and all of us to understand and learn from what took place.

On September 27, The Wall Street Journal published an article entitled “Influential Pastor Pledges to Fight Sexual Allegations.” It’s a story about a Baptist pastor accused by four young men. It’s the subject of my post next week.  Among the Journal’s vast on-line readership, his announcement that he is fighting the claims was the fifth most viewed article of that day. I make no judgment on his guilt or innocence, but that’s not the point. I have heard time and again that laity want the Church and falsely accused priests to fight the allegations instead of settling them.

No-Due-Process-for-Priests

At present, however, Church leadership in the U.S., at least, exhibits another kind of zero tolerance. It’s a zero tolerance of innocence. Accused priests who maintain their innocence, and insist on standing by the truth, are in for a very rocky road. Over the next two weeks, I will lay out my case for why I believe this to be true. It’s very important for both laity and priests to understand this. The time in which most priests can feel immune from all this is long past.

PRIESTS, PERPETRATORS AND PROFIT

Just before I wrote “Saints Alive,” I received something very disturbing in the mail that no doubt influenced that post. It was a copy of an e-mail exchange between a writer doing research on falsely accused priests and a priest, psychologist, and former director of the largest treatment center for Catholic priests in the United States. The writer sent the exchange to me for a reaction, and certainly got one.

Here’s a segment of the priest-psychologist’s response to the writer:

“I am not familiar with the situation of [Father X], but I offer the following as someone who has personally worked with hundreds of priests who have been accused. False accusations are rare. They do happen and more so since all the publicity, nevertheless they are rare and usually don’t hold together under closer examination …. What is challenging to Church officials and clinicians working with offenders is the layers of denial and rationalization which the offenders often believe themselves and desperately try to convince others of …. Priest offenders can be intelligent and particularly convincing.”

Remember Padre Pio’s exasperated response to a Church official who claimed his wounds were psychologically induced? “Go out to the fields,” he wrote, “and look very closely at a bull. Concentrate on him with all your might. Do this, and see if you grow horns on your head!”

As I wrote in my post on Padre Pio, I unfortunately have none of his sanctity, but all of the exasperation he felt at being wrongly accused and unable to offer a defense. Padre Pio suffered under repeated false claims of sexual abuse because such claims are the most potent way to destroy a Catholic priest. We now know those claims were baseless even though some in the media continue even today to exploit them. The irony is that if the claims against Padre Pio were brought today in America, he would be packed off to that very “treatment” center for an evaluation. He would not be an “accused priest” at the center. As the center’s former director described in chilling prose, Padre Pio would be seen from day one as a “priest offender,” and his denials would be interpreted as evidence of his guilt.

False accusations are rare? Tell that to Mike Gallagher and the falsely accused men I described in “The Eighth Commandment.” Tell that to the twelve falsely accused men who appeared on CNN’s “Larry King Live” with Innocence Project attorney Barry Scheck on October 6, after they each were exonerated following an average of 20 years in prison accused of sexual assaults they had nothing to do with. Their stories, and the hundreds like them, will be the subject of a landmark film, Conviction, opening this Friday.

Justice has turned on its head when men who stand to gain hundreds of thousands of dollars for making a false claim are automatically called “victims” by Church leaders now, while priests accused without evidence from decades ago are just as quickly called “priests-offenders” and “slayers of souls.”

WILL THE TRUTH SET YOU FREE?

I’m sure it feels uncomfortable to read about this. It’s just as uncomfortable to write it because I know – we all know – that abuse really did take place in many cases involving priests. At the time I was accused, I was Director of Admissions for the Servants of the Paraclete Center for priests. A significant number of our priest-residents were sent to the center after being accused of sexual misconduct. I had much interaction with priests who were accused, with the Church leaders who referred them for assessment, and sometimes even with their accusers. It is true that some priests who were guilty initially denied guilt. However, another expert in this field recently wrote just the opposite of what the former director of the center for priests said above:

“It is extremely rare for a priest guilty of sexual abuse to maintain plausible deniability for an extended period of time. Those who maintain their innocence should thus be believed, absent solid evidence to the contrary, especially when there is a demonstrated financial incentive for false claims.”

It horrifies me to realize that the dominant treatment center for accused priests in the U.S. operates with a stated bias that denies priests one of the foundational civil rights of American citizens: a presumption of innocence when accused. How does someone win when denial of the crime is used as evidence against the innocent, and often, the ONLY evidence?

I faced this same roadblock years ago. Ryan MacDonald wrote about it in “Should the Case Against Father Gordon MacRae Be Reviewed?” It was a response to a piece of sheer propaganda offered up by a member of Voice of the Faithful who condemned me, sight unseen, in terms a lot like those once used against Padre Pio.

Ryan MacDonald’s rebuttal article describes an evaluation of me that took place after I was first accused. The clinician, who had an M.A. in something unknown, warned me repeatedly during interviews that my insistence that the claim never took place is called “denial” and it is evidence of guilt. He then, after only three forty minute interviews, declared me a sexual predator and paved the path to monetary settlements against my will. Perhaps the wrong people are being thrown into prison.

The staff at the Servants of the Paraclete Center was deeply supportive of me when I was accused. They believed my stated innocence, and still do. While not a single priest of my diocese has visited me, and only two have written to me (once each) in over 16 years in prison, several priests from the Servants of the Paraclete order have traveled across the country to visit me on numerous occasions.

When I was accused, our staff advised me to seek out the counsel of a Catholic therapist to help me deal with the stress of being so accused. I was advised to find counsel outside of our own staff. It is a shocking and shameful reality that, even in 1994, I was unable to find a Church sponsored treatment professional who did not automatically assume that every accused priest was guilty.

You may have read about my 1994 trial in The Wall Street Journal or here on These Stone Walls. Throughout that trial, the Honorable Arthur Brennan referred to my accuser before the jury as “the victim.” And he was clearly not a child. He was a 240-pound, almost 30-year-old man posing as a victim.

“I should get an Academy Award for that performance!” he was overheard saying after my trial.

Perhaps the best resource today for any accused priest facing a demand that he submit to a Church sponsored evaluation is Opus Bono Sacerdotii. Their website is filled with helpful information and solid advice. The Priests in Crisis site also has orthodox and sound advice for priests and their supporters.

I’m told that “The truth will set you free.” Well, that’s true, but first someone has to tell it. I struggle terribly with this. Taking positions contrary to those of my own bishop and diocese is the most painful part of my existence, and not something I do lightly. Cardinal Avery Dulles, and Bill Donohue at The Catholic League, both convinced me that the truth is always what is in the best interests of the Church. So tell it I must.

Steep-Climb-to-Justice

Over the next two weeks, I ask your patience as I describe the road less traveled – the steep uphill climb to justice for this priest who has been falsely accused, and has paid a dear price for being innocent. As is clear from TSW’s “About” page, I could have left prison over 13 years ago had I been guilty.  Imagine what it’s like, now, to hear Church officials tell me that it’s self-serving to say I am not.

Please join us next week for part two of this special three-part post.

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. sheila ryan says:

    I know a woman who was the victim of incest. It was her father. It was so hard to believe. What the justice system did to her,at the age of ten made it worse. Male detectives “talked to her” at length trying to trip her up and they could’t. Finally s she had enough and and this ten year walked out of the court house, holding her Mother’s hand. Her Mother was not allowed to speak during the interrogation. The little girl went to four counseling sessions and refused to go back. So, she didn’t.

    When she was in her late twenties or early thirties, she thought it would be a good idea to get her father, brother’s, and nephews together to go fishing. So, they did. In her mind, she was never a victim. She believed her father was the victim as normal men don’t act like that. She forgave him. That was the end of it. It boiled down to forgiveness. Why can’t our Church take a lesson from this? Once a Priest is found innocent, stop the continuation of persecution? When a Priest is accused, take his side and get him the best lawyer…..they pay out millions to the fakes but little for a good honest lawyer. Our Church needs a good house cleaning. Start with the Bishops and go from there. I hope that is a big part of this meeting in Rome. Pray for it please as too many of our Priests are the VICTIMS! I’m with you Father and love you. Thank you for lifting me up when I get down.

  2. j. Stefencavage says:

    My Dear Father; First of all; I pray for you every day along w/my rosary to the Immaculate Mary our Mother. I have just purchased the book and I can’t put it down! It should be a must read for every Catholic! Words cannot express my indignation and sorrow at what has and is happening, I know one of the priest who has been charged and I see what it has done to his life! However Father, you are doing good in the world by your blog. And perhaps you have been chosen by Jesus to suffer for others, we will never know until we See His beautiful face, but until then be assured you are in my prayers.

  3. Deigo Jose says:

    Except for the young crop coming up, I haven’t known a single priest who wasn’t accused.

    In our diocese we’ve had 39 accused so far… only 2 convictions, 1 of which was over-turned by a higher-court.

    Let’s see… let me count them….

    Highschool,
    our chaplain,
    Parish priest,
    Next town over,
    personal friend,
    another priest i know,
    the priest across town,
    my auxillary bishop,

    I could list more… but what is the point?

  4. Johny says:

    Hi Father Gordon. I am from India. I support you ultimately. US law and justice systems are absolutely wrong. i know you are innocent. it is very worst the system of living in stone walls. Jesus always with you.

  5. Scottie says:

    Our Lady of Fatima told the children in 1917 that unless the Pope consecrated Russia in union with all the Bishops, the Church would have much to suffer. There has never been this kind of consecration. And the effects are visible now.

  6. Lionel DUCROS (Paris) says:

    My dear Reverend Father,
    This is incredible! I thought that the Court recognized your innocence and that you were free!…
    I am very afflicted in noticing that the United States are not the country of liberty I imagined and that some people do not hesitate to pervert “judicial proceedings” in order to make business and to attempt to discredit our beloved Church and that the Courts, knowingly, accept this appalling behaviour… Shall we have to create a new concept of “abuse of judicial proceedings” in order to eliminate these excesses which seriously affect the reputation of such a great country?
    I dare not imagine what you feel about your situation!…
    Please, receive my support as well as my “filiale et très respectueuse affection”, in Caritate Christi per Mariam (Mediatrix of all graces). I shall pray at all your intentions.

  7. Lionel (Paris) says:

    It is sure that the atheists and other detractors use this argument only to attempt to discredit Pope Benedict XVI and through him our beloved Church… whereas he has nothing to do with the way how people behave in their private life, all the more as the Churh has always condemned criminal abuses and this for ever. He cannot follow the desorders which he certainly disapprove nor bear the consequences of sinners’ criminal offenses committed all over the world!

    If some people do not follow the Church prescriptions, the Pope cannot indeed be fairly regarded as responsible of their actions.

    In my opinion, the way he is dealing with this issue is the right one!

  8. Shadow says:

    You are in my thoughts and prayers.

  9. Helen says:

    FATHER GORDON!!!

    I heard a priest say, this morning, on EWTN: “In order to make the host for Communion, wheat must be taken and CRUSHED”!

    It made me think that, before Jesus became our Bread of Life, HE had to be crushed.

    Before WE can become HIS Image…. WE ARE CRUSHED.

    Oh… How You glorify Him!!! God bless and keep You, Fr. Gordon!!! YOU surely own a great part of my own heart…thru the Most Broken and Sacred Heart of Jesus… Praise and Glorify Him.

    Helen

  10. Mary says:

    Father G,

    Have had computer trouble again so I am late reading your latest post. I continue to marvel at your continuing perseverance.

    I hope you can feel the prayers of your brothers and sisters in Christ supporting you. It really is like that famous painting “THe Scream” in its sheer madenning frustration.

    May the saints in heaven sustain you in your courageous witness to Truth

  11. Helen says:

    Hello Fr. Gordon…

    I couldn’t resist posting this article of hope…. I beleive You two priests have something in common: NOT GUILTY!!

    A GLIMMER OF HOPE ON THE HORIZON?

    220 Rally for Priest

    Clergyman accused of sexual misconduct
    Wes Woods II, Staff Writer
    Posted: 10/16/2010 10:02:42 PM PDT

    SAN BERNARDINO – More than 200 parishioners and friends of a Catholic priest accused of sexual misconduct involving two teen brothers demonstrated their support for the clergyman Saturday on a sidewalk near the headquarters of the San Bernardino Diocese.

    The Coalition to Exonerate Father Alex showed its support for the Rev. Alex Castillo of Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, who is facing the accusations. Members wore white, chanting “We want justice,” and held signs such as “Father Alex, We Believe in You !!!” in English and Spanish next to the Diocesan Pastoral Center, 1201 E. Highland Ave., San Bernardino.

    The diocese was contacted June 24 by the boys’ parents and told of the alleged abuse.

    Castillo maintains his innocence and has not been charged with a crime.

    Police say they are investigating the allegations, which the diocese made public after reviewing them.

    “It’s a demonstration of love and support for Alex Castillo,” said longtime friend Ted Campos, and spokesman for the Coalition to Exonerate Father Alex, referring to Saturday’s event.

    While Castillo was not at the event, Campos read a statement from him. It said in part: “I am very grateful for all the support and love for all those who believe in me. With your support and my faith I have been able to make it through this difficult time. I look forward to returning to minister to all my faithful. God bless each of you.”

    Ontario Police Sgt. David McBride said on Friday there was nothing new in the Castillo investigation.

    “The case is still ongoing. Nothing can be commented on.”

    Campos said he was told not to hold the rally Saturday morning. Andrews – the diocese spokesman – confirmed that.

    “I’ve talked to Ted Campos and asked him not to do that, and they’re going to do it anyway, so that’s unfortunate,” Andrews said.

    There was extra security at the diocese, and Campos’ group was told in advance not to be on church property.

    “We certainly understand the support these people have for Father Alex, but we don’t have specific information about the allegations, and they should really respect the process we have to protect kids and respect the leadership of the bishop,” Andrews said.

    Read more: http://www.sbsun.com/news/ci_16359915#ixzz12dRkp9TK

  12. Ryan A. MacDonald says:

    The comments on this post are very good. Jay raises an important question. I read recently that an attorney representing a number of accusers in Fr. MacRae’s diocese, the Diocese of Manchester, obtained a mediated settlement of $5.5 million for 62 claims against 28 priests, though not Fr. MacRae himself. Most of those accused priests have long been dead.

    The Diocese of Manchester, according to the lawyer, made the settlement with no corroboration and without asking for any details whatsoever. The lawyer told the news media that $5.5 million divided among his clients (after his almost $2 million contingency fee), will “Allow my clients to pay counseling expenses and a substantial donation to their favorite charities.” I doubt very much that any of his unnamed clients even have counseling expenses. I also doubt VERY much that any of them donated any of the money anywhere except perhaps to SNAP.

    It has been demonstrated that a part of SNAP’s budget has been paid by the very contingency lawyers who are becoming wealthy on these cases. It’s the job of the news media to uncover and report on fraud. However, the news media is far more interested in bringing down the Catholic Church and we, all Catholics, are the unwilling dupes in that endeavor. I, for one, thank Fr. MacRae for helping to open my eyes to all this. Greed ranks right up there with lust among the Seven Deadly Sins.

  13. Patricia says:

    Dear Fr. Gordon,
    Helen said all so clearly. It is so difficult to see you go through
    this persecution. Yet, you have turned it around and minister
    to us. God Bless you….Heal you, release you, strengthen you.
    Holy Spirit hear our prayers!!!!Q

    Patricia
    Heb. 13:3
    JMJ

  14. Jay says:

    Hey Fr. McCrae, you forgot another elephant in the sacristy: “Where did the money go?” The media never reports on whatever became of the settlement money. What did the lawyers do with it? The real question is did any of it end up funding political campaigns. My strongly educated guess is that lots of it did. The media will never investigate that because if they did, it would raise the issue if they were complicit in a system to take money from Catholics (And tobacco smokers and other groups by the way) and use it to silence the Church and fund elections, particularly one of the two parties. Also advise your readers to the begin Googling the anti-Catholic letter writers to newspapers. They will find that they are usually not the objective concerned citizens they appear to be. Finally, have them start asking their senators/representatives if any campaign contributions can be traced back to the Church settlements.

  15. Dympna Kearns says:

    Dear Father Gordon,
    You remain an inspiration to all of us. We will continue to pray for you and all falsely accused priests.
    God Bless you!

  16. Helen says:

    Hello, again, Fr. Gordon..

    I received this following quote in my email, this morning….and since it seems to hit the nail on the head, I couldn’t resist posting it.

    God bless You and thank You for all that You do to glorify our God… (Thankfully and prayerfully, we can NEVER out-bless Him)!!

    In Him,
    Helen

    “The faithful man acts always in faith; and the unfaithful man plots cunningly, and strives to work the ruin of those who are faithful, and who live in piety and righteousness, because like seeks like. The unfaithful man is one dead in the living body. And on the other hand, the discourse of the man of faith guards the life of his hearers”. – Pope Saint Callistus I (d. 218) Martyr, Memorial day October 14

  17. Susan McNair says:

    Father,
    You took up the yoke to follow our Lord in His footsteps; all the way to the cross if need be. In a way you have. But I think your Bishop, Jesus Christ, has a given you a special parish. I think for now you are where He wants you. You are suffering as He did; you are unjustly accused, beaten and scouraged in a modern way, yet you are still following Him. I am sending you a prayer that only you can pray. This prayer was meant for priest. Know you are prayed for every day by me and it will continue till I go to see our Savior or He comes for us.

    St. Sealtiel’s name means “Prayer of God”
    Patron of the Sacrament of Holy Orders
    St Sealtiel carries an incenser, symbol of the prayers & offering of the Divine Sacifice of the Mass, only through the actions of the ordained.

    “And another angel came and stood before the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given him much incense, that he should offer of the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar, which is before the throne of God. And the smoke of the incense of the prayers of the saints ascended up before God from the hand of the angel.” Apoc 8:3-4

    Prayer for Priests:
    Oh holy St. Sealtiel come to my aid with your legion of angels! Intercede to our Almighty and merciful God! Graciously attend to to my humble prayers; and make me, whom God has appointed to dispense the heavenly Mysteries through no merits of my own, but only through the infinite bounty of His Mercy, a worthy minister at His sacred altar; that what is set forth by my voice may be confirmed by His Holy Grace. Pray for me that our good Jesus may grant me the grace to be a priest after His own Sacred Heart! Amen

    ~ adapted from the Raccolta #682 & #682

  18. Shirley says:

    The Catholic church is under attack and your situation is a prime example of it. Take heart in knowing that even if your fellow priests and bishop have abandoned you, Jesus has not, and I hope you also take heart in knowing that we who read your blog are praying for you, and for an end to this intolerable treatment of priests from inside the very church that should be fighting for the truth.

  19. Dear Father Gordon:

    You remain in my thoughts and particularly my prayers. I have provided a link to this article on my blog in a posting I have made today about the scandal within the scandal.

    http://freethroughtruth.blogspot.com/2010/10/priests-and-sexual-abuse.html

    Your refusal to accept anything less than the truth shall be a witness to Church leaders, to clean up their acts, and accept as you nothing less than the truth. Only the truth can set us free.

    God Bless You

    Michael Brandon

  20. Helen says:

    Oh… the horror of it all, Fr. Gordon. How does any one empathetic reader help to soothe Your most broken heart?

    How does one give You hope except to say that our Jesus IS faithful. Sometimes, it is so sad, but God’s ways are certainly not ours….not MINE!

    You are continually on my mind, in my heart, in my prayers. The nightmare You are having to live is something I can hardly stand reading and yet, for You and for support of You, I will.

    I can’t imagine the patience You must be practicing because, for myself, just reading all of these most hurtful words, I want to S-C-R-E-A-M!!!

    Dearest Jesus, I have just come from Your gift of “The Divine Mercy Chaplet”…and it pains me to think of how very brutally You were tortured in all of Your innocence. I take hope in Your words, Lord:

    “At THREE o’clock , implore My Mercy, especially for
    sinners; …………….In this hour, I will refuse *NOTHING* to
    the soul that makes a request of me in virtue of My passion.”

    Most faithful God, I have and, in Your grace, continue to ask You to free Your son, who so innocently suffers in prison. Who, but You, could possibly know what he is going thru. Lord, have mercy…..YOU ARE MERCY ITSELF…. I believe You.

    Fr. Gordon…many are praying for You. Please never give up.
    God bless You and keep You….and especially continue to minister to You. We, who need faith, NEED people like You who are the martyrs for our faith. YOU give us faith. I hope that we NEVER fail to give You support!!

    In Your Service,
    Helen

  21. Mary Elizabeth says:

    Dear Father MacRae,
    God bless you for your perseverance under such extraordinarily
    unjust circumstances. I don’t get to visit you often on your posts, but I don’t forget you. You are always in my prayers, along with all priests.

    More and more I find out just how stealthily the Evil One invades the most precious gifts of life which Our Lord has given us. The priesthood will continue to be attacked, because without the priest, there is no Jesus Christ present in the Holy Eucharist, the source and summit of our dear faith and Catholic Church.

    How well I know this. Keep on telling the world so that those who don’t know it yet, will certainly know it as they discover the truth in your posts. We hear nothing from the pulpits, nothing in our local Catholic diocesan newspapers and nothing from anyone other than you and a scant few in Catholic media, a la Bill Donahue.I will forward this post to our priest and to many others. I hope they have open minds and open hearts so as to be open to the truth.

    Run the race to the end, Father MacRae. I know that
    Our One Lord and High Priest will reward you in His time.

    God’s blessings and many prayers.

  22. Father, you wrote this article so eloquently! I read every word. I still cannot comprehend how the Church can railroad their priests, just to appease the media and the witch-hunting public. I posted this article to my Facebook page, and want to place a link to it from my own blog. I would like to use the “thrown under the bus” cartoon with a “Must-Read” caption that links to this story for my next post.

    God bless you, Father; stay strong. One day you will be released and declared innocent. I believe you are paving the way for all other falsely accused priests to find justice.

  23. Karin says:

    Dear Father Gordon,
    Thank you for this truthful and enlightening post. I would also say that in addition to a Zero Tolerance to Innocence is a seemingly Zero Tolerance to truth.

    The truth these days doesn’t seem to be the norm therefore making it difficult for those who speak it to do so. Thank you for your courage and perseverance.

    I look forward to reading the rest of this series. My prayers for you as you continue to write it and in your continuing fight for justice.
    God bless.

  24. Keith says:

    Fr. G.
    Once again the Holy Spirit is using you for the betterment of the Church. I would add that even though a priest is guilty of the action he is accused, the prevailing atmosphere of both Church and State prevents the hope of repentance.

    The assumption of sickness at the beginning of one’s journey of being accused is mitigated by the “experts” who claim there is no cure, and that position is clung to by the bishops. As you have mentioned or implied, the distancing of bishops and fellow priests increases the stress and sense of alienation which then leads to all kinds of mental fissures, not to mention a spiritual sense of abandonment. In my own case, the bishop was advised by the diocesan lawers two weeks after I was accused “to distance the diocese from this man as soon as possible”.

    It seems as if the Church talks the talk of salvation, repentance, reconciliation, “the Corporal Works of Mercy”, etc.; and once again the laity are more inclined to walk the walk.

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