Friday, August 31, 2012

Fr. Groeschel's Boo Boo

Quite the dust up over an interview with Fr. Groeschel at the National Catholic Register.

There's plenty of commentary out in cyberspace on Fr. Groeschel's comments that to me, lacks truth and understanding.

Yes, sometimes a 13 year old who has been starved for love and attention will misunderstand the attention given to him from a teacher, priest, coach just about the time when their libido kicks in. They lack boundaries because they are in desperate need for affection and love. A mother/father/grandparent or guardian of a child is blessed with the job of nurturing emotions and sexuality. When that is not happening at home, when the child is left without context to understand and discipline - all kinds of things go awry. One of them is, any kind of affection can set off their libido and the relationship of a teacher, coach, priest, etc.

Crushes on teachers, coaches have been happening for centuries.

What was missing in the context of Fr. Groeschel's statements is that normal adults do not respond or do whatever it takes to tuck the situation back in, including removing oneself from direct contact with the child, if necessary.

If you note, Fr. Groeschel explains that in some situations when the priest is screwed up himself - I think he uses the example of a breakdown - the emotions and sexuality of the priest can be disordered. Consequently, rather than the things a normal adult does to put safeguards and boundaries in place, the child is taken advantage of and sexually abused.

While trying to explain this phenomenon, "seducer" was not a very good word for it.

He goes on to opine that perhaps, under the circumstances where the adult has had some kind of breakdown himself, there are some first instances of inappropriate sexual touching of a child may not always require sending the person to a penitentiary.

I'd say as a mother, if it were my child, any kind of groping or sexual touching by an adult, the police would be and should be callws. Obviously we know a person who does this is sick in the head. Could there ever be a situation where after evaluation, there is a course of treatment for a first time offender that wouldn't include jail time?

Maybe. But if the story gels and the priest gets convicted, he should be tagged and treated as a sex offender, so everyone in the community knows where he lives and what he at one time was capable of doing. It's not something normal adults do when they are stressed out. Something is missing in the hat rack.

It is not uncommon for a psychologist to have empathy for all kinds of sick people, even if and when they do something criminal, like abuse a child.

It was irresponsible for the 'interviewer' and editors at the National Catholic Register to, 1) not ask the right questions to get Fr. Groeschel to clarify, and 2) publish the thing.

It's one thing for the secular press to exploit something a Catholic says that obviously needed context and clarification. It's another thing for a Catholic newspaper to scandalize Fr. Groeschel, the faithful.

Increasingly, we are finding things published at the Register that show a lack of understanding of the Catholic religion and/or poor judgment. Don't know what it is, but there's a problem at the helm. You can't just throw articles from good journalists and writers into a Catholic newspaper. In addition to the talents of a journalist, the editing and publishing crew has to be on their game spiritually and have a deep understanding of the Catholic religion - and the faithful. They need to be seasoned and wise.

I don't know what is going on at EWTN, but they need to tighten up their newspaper.


Karen said...

The NCR has owned up to the error in judgement regarding publishing Fr. Groeschel's comments. Fr. Groeschel has apologized and admitted to having somewhat 'clouded' mental facilities of late, and his order has also tried to offer possible explanations while not excusing the comments. The Archdiocese of NY slammed his comments, though in my opinion, that was more of a throwing him under the bus to avoid heat from the fallout. Sad.

I am deeply saddened that we (including me) are always quick to assume the worst initially without all of the facts since the church sex abuse scandal, now ten years old, broke. I am ashamed at my own initial response prior to hearing his explanation. Knowing more about abuse than I wish I did, I can be somewhat sensitive to blaming the victim. I believe that I was wrong in this case.

This poor man made a mistake, and I pray fervently that he not be crucified and have this, rather than a life devoted to the salvation of souls, become his legacy. I worry about what this might do to his already fragile state. He is not someone who wants to cause others pain. I have written him a letter of support and hope that others do as well. I fear that this will be exploited by those looking to further destroy good priests, and I do not want to be part of group doing Satan's bidding. He deserves better!

Steve "scotju" Dalton said...

Fr. Groeschel maybe suffering from the effects of old age and past injuries, but how do you explain his past behavior before his health decline started? Go to this link and you will see that Fr. G has a long history of putting down the victims of clerical abuse.
What is really amazing about this episode is the way the NCR allowed this article to be printed in the first place. Couldn't the reporter comprehend how stupid and wicked these heartless remarks were?

TTC said...


As I mention, what Fr. Groeschel was saying was absolutely true. The context he mentions that the adult who responds sexually to child who crosses boundaries about that person being sick gets lost in the syntax.

Steve, I read the link quickly, but a) I do not take anything on bishop accountability seriously because I know for a fact that they intentionally leave out information that vindicates a falsely accused, and b) historically, the people they get to make statements in the newspapers do not meet my standards for credibility.

The fact of the matter is, Martha Coakley and the US Attorney General ripped the place apart looking for evidence of pedophila they could prosecute and with the millions, perhaps even billions of dollars the Cardinal gave away to people who had zero evidence anything ever taken place, there was about a handful of priests whom they were able to dig up evidence on.

When you match the allegations against evidence, there percentage of credible complaints is actually quite low. This does not mitigate the disgust we have for the lies and corruption inside of our chanceries, which exists to this day, that aided and abetted the sexual abuse of children. I am simply saying what is true: There are many, many falsely accused priests. In fact, many more falsely accused priests than priests who, inexcusably, raped and abused children.

I am in absolute agreement that the interviewer and editor at NCR made inexcusable errors which has brought scandal. All they had to do was call Fr. Groeschel back up and say we thing something was lost in syntax and can you help us clarify the substance of the sick adult. If he did not clarify to my satisfaction, I would have trashed the piece and did some praying for Fr. G.

This article is not the only problem at the Register. Let us pray for them. They need to tighten up the ship. Get some seasoned professionals.

breathnach said...

Carol, I appreciate your comments on this issue. Father Groeschel has fumbled around on this issue more than once, as Steve has noted. You are spot on concerning the NCR, their lax editorial oversight is giving aid and comfort to the anti-Catholic haters.

There were a small core group of vicious sexual pervert clerics, who had their way from the 1960s to the 1980s. I knew one of these monsters in the Boston area, luckily I wasn't victimized. These evildoers were cold blooded manipulators of troubled youth. They stalked and cultivated their prey, who were always from dysfunctional family situations. This particular diseased soul, was passed around from parish to parish, abusing his own relations among many others. He described himself in psychological reviews (found in Archdiocesan files) as a danger to "men, women and children". He was still passed around by the hierarchy.

Unfortunately when Father Groeschel attempts to distinguish cases involving psychologically immature priests from these monsters, he leaves himself open to exploitation by the anti-Catholics who dominate the media. He needs to be kept on a short leash.

Karen said...


You were most definitely looking for an explanation that explains Fr. G's comments in a most thoughtful and charitable way. That is more than many others who post, as you mentioned. The abuse scandal is the gift (to Satan) that the Catholic Church keeps on giving, and we appear to be our own worst enemies. I get what you are saying about NCR.

As I mentioned, I was quick to think the worst initially without knowing all of the facts. Even my thoughts about the motives of the NY Archdiocese are cynical and judgemental, and that troubles me about my own mindset these days. Talk about a loss of trust affecting my opinions! Sadly, I can understand why the Diocese wants to distance itself from Fr. G's comments. They have their own problems without adding this. Could our church be any more divided? I miss the days where I had a blind faith, however misguided that was! I digress....

Back to Fr. Groeschel...I hope that others take the same thoughtful approach to this as you did here. I can imagine that he is beating himself up over this and does not need his fellow Catholics leading him to discouragement or worse. As to NCR, maybe this will be a wake up call to clean up their act!

Steve "scotju" Dalton said...

Carol, the BA site may have a bias, but all they did was to report Fr. G's words, words which were pretty much the same as what he said recently.
Breathnach brings up a very vital point in the last paragraph of his comments about Fr. G's lack of discernment. Based on his remarks, there's good reasons to believe he was conned by many of his priest clients. Psychopaths, who are almost always sex perverts, are master manipulators. Lying is second nature to them. If Fr. Groeschel didn't understand that, he probably did more harm than good with his counseling. I sincerely hope my suspicions are not true. Otherwise, I'm afraid we may be hearing about some of his clients in the near future.

TTC said...


I have to read the whole thing carefully later, but on the first quick read, I didn't see anything Fr. G said in the article that I disagreed with. Some of the things he says are not very politically correct and some of the syntax may not be stellar but they are true.

I think I've mentioned before that there is a teacher in town who several years back worked in the next town over. He was a sports coach in the much wealthier town. He had 'an affair' with a student - at least one was confirmed - and if my memory serves me correctly, several others stepped forward after his wife was caught in some kind of sleepovers with teenagers where she was involving herself sexually with them. Nothing happened to the teacher and he in fact, was hired by our high school without so much as a peep from the parents. Another female teacher was well known by the students to be an easy piece of meat.

Ever heard the crude term MILF? I think there was some kind of song about it wasn't there? I sang it without even knowing what it was about. My children stopped me and had to tell me what it was - laughing their butts off.

The indignation about the truth of Fr. G said doesn't pass my sniff test.

Steve "scotju" Dalton said...

Carol, I don't think you really comprehend what I'm trying to tell you. Fr. Groeschel doesn't know crap about psychopathy. If he did, he never would have made those asinine remarks about these 'poor' men being the victims of Lolita's and 'horny' teen boys. He would have also known, if he was so well informed, that psychopaths can never be reformed. No amount of preaching, psychiatric tratment or counseling will ever change them. Fr Fitzgerald, who founded Servants Of The Paraclete, which helped priests with alcohol problems, told his bishop never to send him anyone who was a known child molester. He called them human devils who could never be reformed. They don't have a conscience. Defrocking and turning them over to the cops was the only thing you could do with them. IMHO, at the least, Fr. Groeschel was a foolish dupe of these devils. At the worst, he was a willing collaborator with them. Since I don't have long distance mind reading powers, I don't know exactly what's going on in his head. However, his calloused, cruel remarks about children push my suspicions in the later direction.
Carol, I've known psychopaths during my adult life. I've known one victim of a psychopath. I've known the enablers of them. I remember how these evil individuals behaved. I remember how the victim I knew behaved. And I certainly remember how the enablers behaved. They acted and talked like Fr. Groeschel.

TTC said...


I'm sorry this is upsetting to you and will pray for the situation that you refer to in your post.

I do think though I do know what you're talking about, because many things I've said throughout the years have been taken out of context to claim I was an enabler.

I've heard Fr. G live speak about abusers and don't see your assessment as an accurate one...