Saturday, October 17, 2009

Known Priest Pedophile Was Still in the Saddle

Before starting this post, I want to say for the record that I am very, very grateful for holy priests and Bishops that Christ is fortifying to get us through this painful crucible.

There are pockets of them fulfilling the promise that Christ's Church will reign forever.

As I've said before and I continue to say - fine one if you can and hunker down there. Pray for the many having difficulty doing so.

Yesterday, the NYT ran a piece about the story of a priest who fathered a child who is now very sick. It is a bewildering discourse of a sexually sick priest and his superiors who have thrown money in exchange for a confidentiality agreement that keeps the woman's mouth shut.

The emotional manipulation and abandonment of the child played out at the hands of Rev. Henry Willenborg is incomprehensible.

The relationship starts when Willenborg grabs the woman for a passionate kiss after a marriage counseling session. For five years, they ran ministries together in the Church during the day and at night, they lived as a married couple.

The priest Ms. Bond fell in love with so many years ago, Father Willenborg, is currently the senior pastor of Our Lady of the Lake, a large, historic parish of 1,350 families on the shores of Lake Superior in Ashland, Wis. The church spire is visible from miles away, and the parish operates an adjoining school. On a recent Sunday, Father Willenborg affably led a morning Mass for about 300 people, adding a special blessing for the grandparents in the congregation. Afterward, in his office, he acknowledged that he does have a son, is aware his son is terminally ill, and said that he had tried to be attentive.

He said he did not want to talk about the situation, and pointed out that Ms. Bond had more to lose than he did because she had signed a confidentiality agreement that, if broken, requires her to pay a penalty. He asserted that Ms. Bond had shown no care for his needs and was only concerned about money, and that his son had shunned him. He said that he and the Franciscans had done nothing bad.

Well then why the need for a confidentiality agreement?

Luckily, the newspapers once again give us the details of whether he and the Franciscans are as innocent as the doves and it does not come down in their favor.

Eventually they had a son, setting off a series of legal battles as Ms. Bond repeatedly petitioned the church for child support. The Franciscans acquiesced, with the stipulation that she sign a confidentiality agreement. It is now an agreement she is willing to break as both she and her child, Nathan Halbach, 22, are battling cancer.

With little to lose, they are eager to tell their stories: the mother, a once-faithful Catholic who says the church protected a philandering priest and treated her as a legal adversary, and the son, about what it was like to grow up knowing his absentee father was a priest.

The commentary throughout the story from the young man is heartbreaking.

Father Willenborg had no contact again with his son until the boy was 13. Nathan remembers being so excited to finally meet his biological father that he insisted on getting a haircut. He remembers that Father Willenborg took him to McDonald’s and to see the movie “What Women Want.”

Nathan recalled, “It was sort of hard meeting this guy for the first time, at a place where we couldn’t talk to each other.”

In the next few years, Nathan said his disappointment grew. Father Willenborg did not visit, though he lived only 15 minutes away. He had promised to take Nathan to a baseball game, but it was two years before he stopped by and later called to say he had tickets. Nathan finally told Father Willenborg he did not want to see him.

Prior to fathering this child, he impregnated the same woman with the knowledge of his superiors. He suggests an abortion, (priests pushing sex and abortions in their ministries are a dead giveaway that beg the services of a private detective-- Any parent bringing their children to a priest pushing it is asking for trouble) she declines and later has a miscarriage. The Franciscans keep him firmly planted in his position as, of all things, a Rector at a Seminary. This position and subsequent assignments by the Franciscans included teaching celibacy to the seminarians.

He finally informed his Franciscan superiors of their liaison.

The pregnancy ended in a miscarriage. The Franciscans kept Father Willenborg in place as rector of their seminary in Quincy, Ill.

The couple then resolved to keep the relationship platonic, according to Ms. Bond, (whose recounting of events is consistent with what Father Willenborg said in a legal deposition). But a few months later, during an Easter-season retreat they had planned together for about 90 women, Father Willenborg showed up at her door. Ms. Bond said she was sure that Nathan was conceived that night.

This story could take the First Place Blue Ribbon away from the Shrine at Arch Street in Boston where the sex lives of the priests are included in a porn book written by a former Eucharistic minister - another responsibility of Cardinal O'Malley that is a big red flag in how seriously he takes sexually sick priests. He's done diddly squat about Arch Street.

In the course of this cretin's story comes the revelation that the affair ended when a jealous and distraught teenager showed up on her door telling the mother of his child that she had been sexually involved with the priest for years. The journalist got a hold of the now woman who affirmed the story but asked to remain anonymous.

An unexpected turn of events brought their idyll to an end. A young woman showed up at Ms. Bond’s house in a rage. She told Ms. Bond that she had been in a sexual relationship with Father Willenborg for years, since she was in high school. (Reached by phone last week, the woman confirmed the relationship, and said it had caused her a lifetime of pain. She asked to remain anonymous.) Immediately, the Franciscans sent Father Willenborg to a treatment center in New Mexico run by a religious order, for priests with sexual disorders and substance addictions.

Ms. Bond says that after that, they had sex together only once more: immediately after he returned from seven months at the center. She still has the receipt from the hotel room.

Nathan is now so ill that he rarely leaves his house except for hospital visits. The highlight of his day is lumbering to the mailbox, leaning on his mother, who was told recently by doctors that she had carcinoid tumors in her appendix and colon. Strangers who get Nathan’s name and address from Web sites for cancer victims send him dozens of cards, often homemade, urging him not to give up.

Recently the mail included a card from Father Willenborg.

“I never understood,” Nathan said, “why he thought cards could make it all O.K.”

How about because he's an idiot and an abuser of human beings - for starters?

Per usual, now that the story is out in the press, the Franciscans were forced to suspend him.

Though the record is proof positive they knew he had a sexual addition because they forced him to go to sex therapy, they're now claiming they are shocked. Shocked I tell you.

Bishop Christensen said Father Willenborg believed that the other woman, who insisted on anonymity in the article, was not a minor. But Bishop Christensen said the suspension was necessary because American Catholic bishops agreed in 2002 to remove priests from the ministry who are credibly accused of sexually abusing minors.

They believed but they never investigated and found out the ages of the women he was sexually exploiting.

Isn't that special.

The duplicity is staggering.

It doesn't take a lot of imagination to realize what the superiors of priests (including O'Malley) are still hiding when it comes to their own.

While we're on that subject, the deeds of the Canadian Bishop appear caught with kiddie porn on his laptop appear to be more devastating than anticipated.

An image of a naked boy wearing only rosary beads was among those found on Bishop Raymond Lahey’s laptop computer, a search warrant has revealed.

The RCMP’s child exploitation unit obtained the warrant in order to search the bishop’s home in Antigonish and his apartment in Sydney...

Court papers state that the image of the "young, naked male" showed him wearing only "a set of black rosary and a set of white rosary beads around his neck." The boy appears to be nine to 12 years old, court papers say....

One image allegedly depicts a young naked male who appears to be "hurt, as there are red welts and marks on his stomach and chest area."

"He looks sad in this image," the documents say....

The search warrant also alleges the bishop used the MSN Messenger service on the Internet to have sex-related chats with people he met online and "that the conversations are often sexual in nature." But the bishop told police he believed to the "best of his knowledge" that all the people involved in the talks were adults.

The RCMP say the images were found on his laptop in a folder called Downloads that contained 964 files. There were 33 videos in another folder, the court papers say.

The documents also state that on Oct. 9, the RCMP interviewed Shane Earle, who once lived at the Mount Cashel orphanage in St. John’s, N.L.

Mr. Earle, whose treatment at the orphanage in his teens led to a public inquiry, has said he saw child pornography at Bishop Lahey’s home in the 1980s when the clergyman was still living in his native Newfoundland.

Mr. Earle told police last week that he had spent some weekends and holidays at Bishop Lahey’s home in Mount Pearl, N.L., while he was a resident of the orphanage. He alleges he saw a "catalogue containing images of child pornography" during one of his stays at the bishop’s place.

"The images were of boys not older than 13 years old and that in some images the boys were sexually aroused," Mr. Earle told the RCMP.

Church officials in Newfoundland acknowledged before Mr. Earle’s Oct. 9 interview with the RCMP that little was done to help him in the ’80s after he told them what he had allegedly seen in Bishop Lahey’s quarters.

Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.

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