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Fr. Doyle loses his job

posted by awelborn

As an Air Force Chaplain

In the latest chapter of his turbulent career, Father Doyle was quietly removed from his job as an Air Force chaplain in a clash with his archbishop over pastoral issues.

He lost his endorsement as a chaplain from the Archdiocese of Military Services in September, a decision that until now had not become public. The leader of the Archdiocese of Military Services, Archbishop Edwin F. O’Brien, said Father Doyle had flouted his guidelines about requiring daily Mass for Catholics on military bases and other pastoral issues.



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R.

posted April 29, 2004 at 1:21 am


Maybe there’s more to the story than the daily mass angle the Times is pushing. What’s with the strange bit tacked on at the end about him attempting to stay on past retirement through affiliation with a schismatic sect?



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TomM

posted April 29, 2004 at 6:21 am


Some people will read whatever they want into this story, but I believe this is clearly a case where a bishop is doing his job.
Archbishop Edwin F. O’Brien has been very tolerant of Fr. Doyle’s activities, which almost surely have detracted from his job as a chaplain.



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Dale

posted April 29, 2004 at 6:47 am


I applaud Archbishop O’Brien.
We were stationed at Ramstein while Fr. Doyle was there. Fr. Doyle presided at Daily Mass as well as Sunday Mass in rotation with 2 other military priests and 2 civilian priests because of operational requirements and deployments. He usually gave the impression he would rather be somewhere else doing something else other than celebrating Mass. He was also traveling a lot and making appearances for VOTF.
I have great sympathy for the abuse victims, but I have no sympathy for Fr. Doyle. Our men and women in the military deserve better priests.
I am thankful to be in the Arlington Diocese now and I am thankful for Archbishop O’Brien.



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TK

posted April 29, 2004 at 7:17 am


http://www.orthodoxcatholicchurch.org/
Great, he can say Mass with “Mother” Myrella, and also say prayers to “St. Mychal Judge”.
In schism not only with the Roman Catholic Church, but now, since they ordain women, the Orthodox communion as well.



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Rod Dreher

posted April 29, 2004 at 7:34 am


I find this very sad, but not surprising. I knew they were going to get him if they could, but I didn’t think he’d make it this easy for them. It’s hard to understand why Fr. Doyle left himself open like this, knowing that they were waiting to give him enough rope with which to hang himself.
I can’t let this pass, though:

What a scalding irony. Doyle became known for comforting the wounded and helping bring justice to those so badly damaged because, ultimately, bishops abdicated their pastoral responsibilities. These bishops of ours put up with all manner of heretical and pastoral nonsense from priests today, and turn a blind eye when the police haul members of the presbyterate from public bathrooms and shrubbery, caught
in flagrante delicto. But at long last, one bishop gets around to taking the disciplining of an errant priest seriously, and announces that he has to do this no matter what people think.
And that priest is Fr. Tom Doyle.
From what information is available in the Times story, it’s hard for me to see how Fr. Doyle can be defended in this matter, esp. since he made the foolish and desperate move to reach out to that schismatic group, a move for which he apologized. I wish he hadn’t done what he did. It seems to me that it was wrong, though I’d like to know more. Nevertheless, there’s more courage and integrity in Tom Doyle’s little toes than in the enter American episcopate. That hasn’t changed, though his status obviously has. I know he will continue to be a sign of hope for many, many victims who have been given nothing but reason for despair from the institutional church.



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Mark C.

posted April 29, 2004 at 8:01 am


Calling the Holy Orthodox Catholic Church “schismatic” is even a stretch, as that might imply some sort of relationship to the Old Catholic Churches of Utrecht or the Society of Saint Pius X, which have valid apostolic orders but are not in union with Rome. The HOCC is a bizarre, ultraliberal sect with questionable orders that may derive from the Old Catholics or Orthodox via irregular consecrations at the beginning of this century. For a person as smart as Fr. Doyle, he had to know that this move was a career killer.



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al

posted April 29, 2004 at 8:09 am


Its someone telling that Fr. Doyle thought it more important to reach out to VOTF than those actually requiring his pastoral guidance. And ultimately, what would do more for the scandal–speaking to dissident VOTFers or offering the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in atonement for the depravities which have come to light. Ultimately the Eucharist is the true source of hope–for though we will always have corrupt men with us, the leaven of Christ’s continued presence to us will ameliorate that agony.
It would seem pretty easy for Fr. Doyle to keep up his pastoral duties and continue to speak out on the issue of the homosexual crisis. We should pray for him to get his priorities straight.



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Matthew McGuire

posted April 29, 2004 at 8:13 am


Sorry, Rod – his job wasn’t to be a victim advocate. As a priest in (a vital) pastoral ministry, his first priority was to celebrate the Eucharist.
You may find that he spread grace well through his work on the Church scandal. But Jesus offers even more grace than Fr. Doyle – through the sacraments. The evening before Jesus was crucified, he did not tell the Apostles: Go out and seek social justice! Always speak truth to power, brothers. And, if you have time between speeches, take this, and eat! Take, and drink!
Fr. Doyle’s apparent pattern of giving short shrift to his primary function as a priest is more than enough reason to remove him from essential pastoral ministry. And, Rod, it’s hard to see how your man of boundless “courage and integrity” would dump his Church for some fruity schismatics just to boost his retirement benefits and keep his precious job another six months. That not only speaks to his integrity, but to his bizarre priorities.



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Rod Dreher

posted April 29, 2004 at 8:26 am


Yes, Matthew, I agree: Fr. Doyle doesn’t measure up to Jesus. Neither do you. Neither do I. So what’s your point?
I’ve said that I think Fr. Doyle made some bad moves here. No doubt about that. That does not negate the tremendous brave, compassionate and prophetic work he’s done since 1985, when he made an outcast of himself by having the guts to stand up to the bishops on behalf of abused children. They can’t take that away from him. None of us can.



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AB

posted April 29, 2004 at 8:38 am


Rod,
Well Said!
_



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Frank Elliott

posted April 29, 2004 at 8:38 am


Pious Al writes:
It would seem pretty easy for Fr. Doyle to keep up his pastoral duties and continue to speak out on the issue of the homosexual crisis. We should pray for him to get his priorities straight.
Al, right now I’m praying that all your children grow up to be homosexual so that you’ll have to spend your dotage dependent on the people you hate most in the world.



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amy

posted April 29, 2004 at 8:47 am


Stop right now. Don’t take that last comment in any other direction. Discuss something germaine…like flawed human beings and the good they do.



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zookeeper

posted April 29, 2004 at 8:50 am


don’t feed the troll.



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Mike Petrik

posted April 29, 2004 at 8:57 am


I’m not sure of your point, Rod. We can all agree that Fr. Doyle acted bravely in connection with the child abuse scandals. You are correct that he deserves great credit for this. It says a lot about his basic character. But while we are all sinners — your point, I think — we are not all called to be priests. Fr. Doyle’s understanding of right and wrong may be pretty good, but as you seem to concede, he fell down on his job as priest. Archbishop O’Brien did the right thing here.
You seem to suggest that while Arch. O’Brien’s decision may be right on the merits it was motivated by revenge. Perhaps, but that does seem a tad presumptuous.



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al

posted April 29, 2004 at 9:03 am


Again, I think it says more about the “good” Fr. Doyle was doing in as much as he lost sight of the fact that offering the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass to his flock he was doing far more good than any number of speeches could ever do.
Isn’t this basically the point of Testem Benevolentiae: allowing the natural virtues to supercede the supernatural, because we are capable of seeing the effects of the natural (here, whistleblowing) and despair of seeing the supernatural.
This is exactly what we are criticizing in the Episcopacy–that they heeded temporal considerations (immediate scandal, avoiding controversy or conflict) rather then their spiritual duty to their flock. Can Fr. Doyle effectively challenge their negligence in assuming the Supernatural duties of their office–to truth, to authentic pastoral solicitude–while neglecting his own? What does that say about his diagnosis?



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Steve Skojec

posted April 29, 2004 at 9:28 am


You know, as someone who has never heard of Fr. Tom Doyle before, this article makes his removal sound (to me) like a frame-up.
Theologically speaking, he had a point – Catholics don’t have a right to daily Mass unless it’s practical. Redemptionis Sacramentum speaks to this directly:
“Hence it is the Christian people’s right to have the Eucharist celebrated for them on Sunday, and whenever holydays of obligation or other major feasts occur, and even daily insofar as this is possible.” [162] (emphasis mine)
As for having the Bishop’s permission for Sunday services when Mass is not available, RS also mentions a Bishop’s duty in this regard:
” “If participation at the celebration of the Eucharist is impossible on account of the absence of a sacred minister or for some other grave cause,”[269] then it is the Christian people’s right that the diocesan Bishop should provide as far as he is able for some celebration to be held on Sundays for that community under his authority and according to the Church’s norms. ” [164]
Though it does caution:
“It is necessary to avoid any sort of confusion between this type of gathering and the celebration of the Eucharist.[271] The diocesan Bishops, therefore, should prudently discern whether Holy Communion ought to be distributed in these gatherings.” [165]
That being said, it was a New York Times piece. So of course it sounds like a frame-up, and a feel a bit naive in buying it until I read the comments in this thread. (See what happens when the overall impression Bishops give is that they are out to get the good priests and defend and protect the bad ones? Doubt. Mistrust. Believing the NYT.)
So when I read what Dale had to say, it got me thinking. I know what it’s like when priests think they have some ministry that supercedes their sacramental duty. I’m sure someone will take issue with my saying this – but I saw it happen frequently at Steubenville. People actually got turned away from confession because the allotted time was over and the priest had other things to do. On one occasion, a friend of mine came to me and told me she had finally worked up the courage to go to confession after more than a year, and really needed to go, and was left high and dry. She was practically in tears. She didn’t know if she could face that again.
On other occasions, there would be one priest at Mass and as many as 15 Extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist. On a campus that had over a dozen priests stationed there, full time.
If Fr. Doyle was neglecting his sacramental duty, that’s a problem. RS has something to say about that as well:
“For their part, the lay faithful have the right, barring a case of real impossibility, that no Priest should ever refuse either to celebrate Mass for the people or to have it celebrated by another Priest if the people otherwise would not be able to satisfy the obligation of participating at Mass on Sunday or the other days of precept.” [163]
Whatever good Fr. Doyle did in regards to the sex-abuse scandal, it must be remembered that he is not a social worker, but a priest.
As Rod said, they can’t take away what good he did in this respect, but it’s also true that he couldn’t take away his priestly duty. The Eucharist, confession, all the sacraments – these come first. And if he neglected them in lieu of working with victims, he neglected his vocation.
If that’s the case, the Bishop did his job.



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Larry Tierney

posted April 29, 2004 at 9:44 am


Certainly none of us know all the facts of this story and the NYTimes is not always accurate on first blush. The one thing we do know, Fr. Doyle was given the assignment to look into possible abuse by the clergy and report back with the facts. This he did and the rest is well documented.
If this account is correct, Fr. Doyle made some rather ill advised decisions and will pay the price. Bishops are the only ones with the get out of jail cards.



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Rod Dreher

posted April 29, 2004 at 10:18 am


If this account is correct, Fr. Doyle made some rather ill advised decisions and will pay the price. Bishops are the only ones with the get out of jail cards.
That’s just it. So many of our bishops have let priests get away with far, far worse things than Fr. Doyle has been accused of. So many of our bishops themselves have done far, far worse things, and have faced no disciplinary sanction at all. I’m not arguing that Fr. Doyle did the right thing in this situation, but I am arguing that Abp. O’Brien’s sudden fit of pastoral responsibility in the case of the truth-telling priest who, as Jason Berry says in the Times article, has probably done more harm to the hierarchy than any single person, strikes me as mighty telling.
I’m sure the USCCB membership are raising their glasses of sherry to Abp. O’Brien this morning.



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Steve Skojec

posted April 29, 2004 at 10:28 am


I am arguing that Abp. O’Brien’s sudden fit of pastoral responsibility in the case of the truth-telling priest who, as Jason Berry says in the Times article, has probably done more harm to the hierarchy than any single person, strikes me as mighty telling.
I want to say you are wrong, Rod. I want to say, “Oh, that’s just Rod – beating the drum he’s fashioned from the skulls of apostate bishops…” I want to believe that this is simply a commendable action by a bishop who finally decided that rebellious priests need to be disciplined and took action.
The problem is that I can’t say or believe any of that. Because it’s just so damned convenient that the only wayward priests who get nailed are the ones making trouble for the bishops. (Which is not to say that action shouldn’t be taken against them. It’s just the partiality of action I object to.)
It’s stunning how fast the hierarchical behemoth can move when it gets stung. So much for the theory of “Wait and see…the Church moves slowly….”
Nah. When the impetus is there, suddenly the gears start churning at warp speed.



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Glinda

posted April 29, 2004 at 10:37 am


“I think the hierarchy has been gunning after him for a long time,” said Jason Berry, an author of “Vows of Silence: The Abuse of Power in the Papacy of John Paul II,” which includes a sympathetic portrait of Father Doyle. “He has probably done more damage to the Catholic hierarchy of any priest in America.”
Jason Berry ain’t who you want to be quoting from ANYWAY, but what a bone-headed thing to say. DOYLE didn’t do the damage to the hierarchy, the BISHOPS did it to themselves. That’s like blaming your Mom for telling you, “Put that down before you put your eye out!” when you go and poke your eye out…



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George

posted April 29, 2004 at 11:44 am


O.K. The priest is in the bit of a jam–his once high-flying career is almost over and he is a simple chaplain at a forgotten military installation in North Carolina. It is months to retirement. As a canon lawyer, he is a bit of a know-it-all, and can be hard on his boss, the archbishop. Then the priest starts talk with a sect about doing a little chaplaining on the side, perhaps to boost his (government) retirement pay, or maybe for something to do after his forced retirement.
So what does his boss, the shepherd of souls, do? Publicly fires and humiliates him.
I don’t know whether Father Doyle is traditional or liberal (if he talks to the Anglo/Catholic/Orthodox sect, he probably tends to the latter), but my judgement is this. Think of all of errant priests, the ones who have done real harm to their flocks (and not just the murderers, thieves, pederasts, and philanderers), and I have yet to see such a individual denunciation from any Bishop. But this priest, who is a hero to thousands of loyal Catholics, is cashiered and denounced. All I can say is, I am glad there will be a Final Judgement.



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Rod Dreher

posted April 29, 2004 at 12:05 pm


Then the priest starts talk with a sect about doing a little chaplaining on the side, perhaps to boost his (government) retirement pay, or maybe for something to do after his forced retirement.
Just for the sake of clarity, Fr. Doyle didn’t contact the schismatic group until after Abp. O’Brien removed him as Catholic chaplain. Doyle apparently was looking for a jury-rigged solution that would have kept him in the Air Force until he reached his retirement date. That’s how it seems to me.
Doyle is busted down, and denounced by his bishop in the New York Times. Say, when was the list time Archbishop O’Brien had anything critical to say about his pedestrian-killing confrere in Phoenix?



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Thomas

posted April 29, 2004 at 12:12 pm


You might want to read the article again. Third paragraph down:
“…, Father Doyle was QUIETLY removed from his job as an Air Force chaplain in a clash with his archbishop over pastoral issues.”



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chris K

posted April 29, 2004 at 12:47 pm


If you’re gonna try to do your own thing, not obey orders or follow protocol, believe me, the military is NOT the setting. Chaplains are very needed and those few numbers don’t need one of their own to make their jobs even more confusing or hectic. It sounds like these extra involvments were permitted as long as the pastoral assigned duties were taken care of, but then it looks like enough was enough. And believe me also that it isn’t just chaplains that have to face the consequences in military life. It’s not the same as civilian life nor can it be critiqued from that point of view.



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Joseph D'Hippolito

posted April 29, 2004 at 3:11 pm


To those of you shouting “hosannas” to Absp. O’Brien, let me bring you back to Earth:
1. I live in the Orange Diocese in Orange County, Calif. The DRE has allowed such topics as labryinths and the spirituality of Anne Morrow Lindbergh to be discussed in various seminars. Nothing on Scripture, Augustine or Aquinas. Do any of you seriously believe that if Absp. O’Brien were in charge of my diocese, he would change things?
2. Fr. Doyle is right about the fact that the Eucharist is not a right. It is a priledge God gave to us as a means to mediate grace. Otherwise, why the concern over one’s spiritual state in receiving it? Why the controversy over Sen. Kerry? Why else would most of you support the positions implied in those two questions?



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Steve Skojec

posted April 29, 2004 at 3:18 pm


Joseph -
Fr. Doyle is right about the fact that the Eucharist is not a right.
Actually, that’s not entirely true. (See my first post, where I quoted Redemptionis Sacramentum on this…) The Eucharist is a right, at least on Sunday and days of obligation. And, according to the document, on every other day “insofar as it is possible”.



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Rod Dreher

posted April 29, 2004 at 3:55 pm


Thomas: “…, Father Doyle was QUIETLY removed from his job as an Air Force chaplain in a clash with his archbishop over pastoral issues.”
Yes, but then Abp. O’Brien talked on the record to the Times about it.
Steve is right: it somehow seems that the priests who get busted by the bishies are those who make trouble for them. See Weinberger, Fr. Paul…



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AB

posted April 29, 2004 at 4:06 pm


It is NOT Quiet if it is in the NY Times
Firing a man just before his retirement kicks in is a classic–and vicious–bureaucratic manuver.
How many “troubled” priests–who should be in jail–have been quietly sent into comfortable retirements?
Fr. Doyle has been through a lot for the Church. He deserves better–much better–than this.
_



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Allen

posted April 29, 2004 at 4:14 pm


Um…don’t Dominicans, as Sworn Religous, take vows of poverty? Or do they not do that any more?
Also, didn’t the article say something about him now being a drug abuse counselor? Sounds like his military commander found something for Doyle to do until his mandatory retirement date.
As a former Air Force troop, I know first hand how valuable and how desperately needed, Chatolic Chaplains are.
All other issues aside for a moment, a Chaplain’s first and only duties are to minister to his military flock. His JOB it to be out on the flightline with his squadron, talking to the pilots and enlisted crewchiefs and radar troops, the electricans and bomb loaders. He should be out with the ramp tramps at 0-dark-30, or with the swing shift putting the birds to bed. The GOOD Chaplains somehow did both in the same day. He should be at the base hospital, visiting the sick, or more likely the maternity ward. GI’s tend to be young and healthy. At many bases, the hospital is one or more of the civilian hospitals nearby. He should be in the chow hall talking to the SP’s (cops) before they go out on patrol. He should be finding those cops at their posts in the security areas to say hello, maybe bring them a quick cup of coffee. That move MIGHT be against regs, but the commander will look the other way because its the Chaplain.
Did I mention office hours? Mass? Baptisms? Family counseling? Grief counseling for a young wife or husband who lost a loved one on deployment? Not to mention his own deployments to forward operating locations, mobility exercises, chem warfare training, physical fitness exams, writing performance reports on his enlisted staff, attending Squadron Officer School, Air Command and Staff Course, etc., etc., etc.,
I know all priests are busy and have demanding jobs. Chaplains are different. We called them “Padre” or “Chaplain” but they also rated a salute and were also called “sir.” They are priests first, but also officers of the United States Air Force.
Anything other than those duties, unless he was on his 30 days paid leave each year, would be a distraction, and inappropriate.
I dont know how Doyle performed his Chaplain duties. If VOTF distracted from said duties…



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Mike Petrik

posted April 29, 2004 at 4:20 pm


AB,
Fr. Doyle was re-assigned (described loosely as a demotion), not fired. Nothing in the story suggests his retirement benefits are in jeopardy. Whether the transfer was in retaliation as suspected I can’t say, but let’s at least understand the nature of the bureaucratic act at issue, even if we can only speculate as to motivation.



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Donald R. McClarey

posted April 29, 2004 at 4:37 pm


Careful Petrik, you are guilty of injecting common sense into this discussion.



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Fr. Brian Stanley

posted April 29, 2004 at 5:11 pm


Mr. McClarey,
You have pointed out something that I have observed frequently about Mr. Petrik: he is eminently sensible and one of St. Blog’s best commentators. He is fair-minded, articulate, and faithful. Three cheers for Mike Petrik:
Hip, hip: hoorah!
Hip, hip: hoorah!
Hip, hip: hoorah!



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Mike Petrik

posted April 29, 2004 at 5:56 pm


There is probably an Internet convention for signaling an email “blush,” but damned if I know what it is.



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Sherry Weddell

posted April 29, 2004 at 6:41 pm


As someone who has worked closely with Dominicans for 9 years:
If Fr. Doyle is still a member of the Dominican Order, to even talk of “retirement benefits” is nonsense. Except for the $100/month that each friar receives to make whoppee with, *all* of his retirement benefits go to his province as has his salary for the whole of his working life. The order cares for him in retirement.
Now, if his province is short of cash, they might be concerned that he get his full benefits for the sake of the province, but it is unbelievable that they would agree to his working as a chaplain with a group not in communion with the Holy See just to “up” his retirement income.
Fr. Doyle’s actions would only make sense if he was no longer a member of the Order and operating as a diocesan priest, who has not taken a vow of poverty and does get a regular salary and retirement. If so, he should not address himself or be addressed as a Dominican.
There is also the issue of the maverick personality capable of both serious good and evil at the same time. During the civil war in New Orleans, there was a priest whose story has some interesting similarities. Like Fr. Doyle, he was the only priest to react to a serious injustice. In this case, he gave the sacraments to black Louisianans who formed regiments to fight for the Union after the fall of New Orleans in 1862. Almost all Catholic priests in NO (all white, naturlich) refused to do so and he stepped up to the plate and was a real instrument of justice in a very difficult situation.
But this priest was also a pastoral pain who had been *moved* from diocese to diocese and bishop to bishop because he had a strong tendency to maximize his financial earnings wherever he was. He demanded payment for his services where it was not customary, and was on a couple occasions accused of misappropriating parish money. There is some evidence that he may even have sexually abused a teen-age woman at one parish. (In the 1850′s, it was a lot easier to hide such a history than it is today.)
Was he a hero or a pastoral disaster in the making? The answer seems to have been both. He was (and would always remain) a hero to those black Catholics whom he ministered to but to say that his bishop (who was already peeved at him for his radical politics) should not have disciplined him for his pastoral deficiencies, is absurd.
Thanks heavens, Fr. Doyle is *not* being accused of anything remotely as serious. But his heroic advocacy of abuse victims doesn’t mean that he is incapable of being seriously irresponsible in his priestly life. Without knowing the specifics (and no one blogging about his seems to have special knowledge of this case) it’s impossible to judge the archbishop’s actions in light of the whole situation.



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Fr. Brian Stanley

posted April 29, 2004 at 7:36 pm


Feet of clay: ’nuff said.



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AB

posted April 29, 2004 at 7:49 pm


Father Doyle complicated his position after losing his endorsement by seeking to replace it with one from the Holy Orthodox Catholic Church, a small body unrelated to the Roman Catholic Church. The priest called that endorsement a bureaucratic fig leaf to keep chaplain status so that he could stay on past his required retirement in August, when he turns 60, and receive a better retirement package. He now calls that decision a mistake and has renounced it –NY Times
From the article it does apear that the bishop’s action hit Fr. Doyle in the pocketbook by forcing his earilier retirement.
I am not familiar with how the Dominicans handle a priest’s pay. Still, the pastor of my church transfered out of his order and into the diocesan clergy. Exactly what effect this will have on Fr. Doyle’s finances remain murky, but it is clearly financially punative in nature.
As for the example of the priest in New Orleans, it seem a complete non sequitur. Fr. Doyle’s career is well known–he has been profiled by major newspapers more than once. If he has a history of misbehavior that should be easy to show.
it’s impossible to judge the archbishop’s actions in light of the whole situation
We now know quite a bit. We have seen the bishops policies for disciplining priests being exposed for two years now.
–Typically, a priest who was credibly charged with multiple felonies is simply transfered to another parish to quiet the scandal and faces no punative actions.
–Fr. Doyle writes a stupid memo and the roof falls in on him.
Yes, the memo was stupid and his contact with the schismatic church worse. Yes, the bishop is within the letter of the law in disciplining him.
The question remains: why was Fr. Doyle targeted when so many others, guilty of so much more, escaped scot-free?



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Joe

posted April 29, 2004 at 8:13 pm


As a couple commentators have noted, this does raise interesting questions about Doyle’s relationship to the Dominicans. Doyle has lived outside his community for many years (he’s been an armed forces chaplain for quite a while, hasn’t he?), and it’s worth pondering whether that has been by preference or necessity – i.e., some frictions or difficulties may have led to his exclaustration. I’ve seen this happen before with some other religious priests who for varying reasons have ended up living alone outside their communities.
Now, a question for Sherry: Hypothetically, how do you think Doyle’s province would respond if he said, “I know it’s customary to retire with the rest of the community, but since I’ve become accustomed to living independently I’d like to use my military pension to do so.” He seems to have an arms length relationship with them as is, and he might see the pension as a way to continue that – or, as others have suggested, he might foresee leaving the Dominicans altogether and the pension would provide him with money to live on when he does so.



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Neil Dhingra

posted April 29, 2004 at 9:53 pm


Interested readers can find more information, including Father Doyle’s specific intentions concerning the unfortunate “bureaucratic fig leaf” at:
http://nationalcatholicreporter.org/update/nt042904.htm
Neil



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Joseph D'Hippolito

posted April 29, 2004 at 11:57 pm


Fr. Stanley, I find it rather interesting that you would feel so much joy at the misforture of a fellow priest. Why?



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Joseph D'Hippolito

posted April 29, 2004 at 11:58 pm


Fr. Stanley, I find it rather interesting that you would feel so much joy at the misforture of a fellow priest. Why?
Yes, Fr. Doyle has feet of clay. So what? We all do. Do you rejoice at the misfortune of parishoners you might not like because they, like all of us, have feet of clay?



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Don(kiwi)

posted April 30, 2004 at 12:50 am


Joseph.
How do you glean that Fr.Stanley is taking joy from this unfortunate episode?



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Mike Petrik

posted April 30, 2004 at 7:34 am


Joseph,
Don asks a fair question. I read Fr. Stanley’s post as making your precise point. I think in your admirable haste to defend a man you see as a victim, you may have jumped to a very unfair conclusion.
AB,
The NYT quote re Fr. Doyle’s retirement package is difficult to square with your initial substantive post wherein you likened Fr. Doyle’s dismissal as a “firing … just before retirement kicks in.” In fact, the quote suggests that Fr. Doyle’s basic retirement is not in jeopardy, but that he is instead seeking a “better” package by trying to stay on “past” his normal retirement date.
This is not to suggest that the dismissal may not have been a retaliatory act — that is possible of course, though all we can do is speculate. Nor is it to suggest that Fr. Doyle did not act admirably in many ways — apparently he did. But its one thing to launch speculative criticisms based on real facts; its another to launch such criticisms based on unsupported assumptions.



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AB

posted April 30, 2004 at 8:29 am


Mike,
This is what often happens in corporate America. A pension plan often vests at thirty years of service (for example). That is, the employee receives a full pension. If he retires after 29 years and 9 months he will receive a pension, but only a fraction of what he would have received if he had worked another 3 months.
It is common in some companies to wait until a man has, say, 28 years of service and then lay him off. This saves the company quite a bit of money, but obviously at the employees expense.
Sometimes, employees are forced out early as a punative measure.
I believe military pensions vest at 20 years and Fr. Doyle joined in 1986, so he is near the twenty-year mark. Just a few months could hurt him badly.



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Mike Petrik

posted April 30, 2004 at 9:08 am


AB,
“[Archbishop O'Brien] also said he could have waited until Father Doyle retired in August….” I inferred that this meant August of this year. Are you suggesting that the archbishop was referring to August of 2006?
In any case perhaps Fr. Doyle wanted to stay on longer in order to earn a superior retirement package. That may well be fair and appropriate if he sought to stay on to do his assigned work. But it also seems unreasonable if he had obstinately refused to perform his duties as requested by the archbishop, in which case the archbishop may have demonstrated considerable patience in delaying dismissal so as to not jeopardize the priest’s basic retirement.
I think you have taken unwarranted inferential liberties from the NYT quote.



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TomM

posted April 30, 2004 at 9:08 am


Rod Dreher sees conspiracy, and flirts with libel in his defense of Fr. Doyle, but it is implausible to believe that malevolent conspirators would wait this long to “get” someone who has been poking them in the eye with a stick for nineteen years. Fr. Doyle’s wounds are self-inflicted.



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Paul Pfaffenberger

posted April 30, 2004 at 11:51 am


Fr. Doyle testified as an expert witness in my sister’s case against the diocese of Dallas in 1996 for the grand sum of $0.00. He testified as a canon lawyer to show how many canons were violated in the abuse / transfer / abuse again / transfer / cover-up cases at the time. He also followed up with her afterwards to care for her spiritual well being, and has been very supportive of survivors all over the country.
Sounds like he may have been neglecting his primary “job” as chaplain to minister to a different population, one very much in need of a priest. Lots of us do that – Amy blogs when she should be writing books, I comment on blogs when I should be designing engine parts. There are consequences to these distractions from work, and possibly Fr. Tom faced his.
But to deny that the work he was doing with survivors of clergy abuse was part of his priesthood ?!? He was called to this work, and answered that call, even though is hurt his career. To dismiss it as “whistleblowing” or “supporting VOTF” or “self-inflicted wounds” is tragic.
Jesus calls us to make use of our gifts in service to Him – the Way the Truth and the Light – regardless of our vocation. Fr Tom answered this call to serve as a priest, and chose to serve a group of people who had been sexually abused and then procedurally discarded by the church. There is much about Fr Tom’s theology with which I do not agree, but its hard to imagine a man, a priest, more committed to the service in the name of Jesus.



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Joseph D'Hippolito

posted April 30, 2004 at 2:55 pm


Don of New Zealand and Mike Petrik: I thought that Fr. Stanley was a little too exhuberant in his praise of Mike, who seemed to be stating the obvious. Second, why is it necessary to point out that anybody has “feet of clay”? Perhaps I’m wrong and perhaps I’m reading too much into his comments, but they just seemed inappropriate somehow.



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Rod Dreher

posted April 30, 2004 at 3:18 pm


Paul P.: There is much about Fr Tom’s theology with which I do not agree, but its hard to imagine a man, a priest, more committed to the service in the name of Jesus.
I entirely agree. I don’t know what was going through Fr. Doyle’s head re: his retirement plan, but I am certain it wasn’t a matter of trying to get rich. Over lunch in New York a couple of years ago, I asked him if he’d like to consider writing a book with me about his experiences. He said he would, and when I brought up royalties, he said very clearly that he didn’t care about them, that he wanted it in the contract for every penny he would earn from such a book to go straight to a fund for victims of priestly sex abuse.
We never did anything on the book contract, but I think it’s important that you know that Tom Doyle wanted not one penny from this project, only that his royalties go to help the suffering people to whom he ministered. That’s the kind of man he is.



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Dismas

posted April 30, 2004 at 6:00 pm


We have a few Dominican priests in my province who live “outside the house” for various reasons. One is in Afghanistan right now as a chaplain. It would probably be unreasonable to ask him to make daily choir in the states. :) Others are assigned elsewhere for ministerial reasons, with permission of their superiors, of course.
I don’t know Fr. Doyle’s relation with his province. It’s his and his province’s business, as far as I’m concerned, but if his superior stuck up for him, he more than certainly has a home to come home to, military benefits or not. We had a friar who served 20 years overseas and on ships as chaplain come back into community without batting an eye.



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Sherry Weddell

posted April 30, 2004 at 6:21 pm


Joe:
Preface: I have no personal knowledge of Fr. Doyle so can’t say if any of the stuff below applies in his case. This is just my observations about men’s religious orders in general in response to Joe’s question.
I know Dominicans who are currently in Iraq as military chaplains. Their “year away” would not in any way diminish their connection with their order by itself. When they return, they will live in community again.
I’ve meditated long and hard about all the Dominicans’ I’ve met and heard about (around the world, not just in the Western Province) in the past 9 years and their living situations. 99% live in community. I have heard of two( I think)who lived by themselves outside the community for some time (although one has moved back into community)and of one who because of a very unusual arrangement made under an earlier Provincial, actually receives some monies that he makes directly.
Since this is so much against the grain for Dominicans, there’s a good chance that a later Provincial will “regularize” the situation. A great deal depends upon the man’s Provincial and his own sense of responsbility to his community and his vows. Does anyone know what Province Fr. Doyle is supposed to belong to?
As in so many families, workplaces, etc. the religious who is, in a passive-aggressive way, hell-bent on doing his own thing, can sometimes carve out a space for himself that other members finally tacitly accept.
This is hardly unique to Dominicans. Every religious community has malingering odd-balls who are incapable of real ministry and unable to really live the life of the community but who hasn’t done anything outrageous, so they stay. They are usually older and the saddest, most pathetic men you could even hope to meet. The community bears with them as one would with a family member who is mentally ill or disabled and unable to take an adult role in things.



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Joe mcFaul

posted April 30, 2004 at 9:06 pm


The military retirement issue is a VERY big deal. If you “retire” at 19 years and 6 months your military pension is 0 dollars.
Retire at 20 years and 0 months and your pension is 50% of base pay, a very substantial difference and I can understand why there may have been a moment of weakness on Fr. Doyle’s part to protect the pension, and also I question the Bishop’s timing whenI’m sure he was aware of the pension consequences. We don’t know the whole story but I wonder why a perod of probation wasn’t considered first? (and maybe it was.)



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Joe

posted April 30, 2004 at 9:25 pm


Sherry, Dismas -
Thanks for your perspectives on my “Doyle as Dominican” question; I believe he’s a member of the Midwestern (St. Albert the Great, I think) province, but I don’t know enough about the Dominicans to know whether that would have any special impact on his situation (i.e. inasmuch as different provinces might have different policies, and different provincials may have different views on exclaustration). I get the impression that it depends a lot on the individual – two examples spring to mind, both from the Midwest OP’s. Matthew Fox belonged to that province and lived apart from them for a long time, pretty much doing his own thing until relations broke down so much that they expelled him (apparently over obedience issues, though from what I’ve read of the case I get the impression it was long in coming). Another member of that province, Thomas O’Meara, lived alone for over two decades while teaching at Notre Dame, and apparently re-integrated into his community so well afterward that he was elected prior of one of their larger communities on his return. So it’ll be interesting to see what happens with Doyle.



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Dismas

posted April 30, 2004 at 9:52 pm


Reading the news report, Fr. Doyle is indeed a member of the Central (St. Albert the Great) province. Their website is: http://www.domcentral.org/



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Fr. Brian Stanley

posted May 1, 2004 at 6:44 am


There is no joy in Mudville:
mighty Casey has struck out.
No joy here, either, about Fr. Doyle’s sad and stupid predicament. I find it highly lamentable that Fr. Doyle’s efforts on behalf of victims of sexual abuse by priests will be tarnished by his selective obedience in other ecclesial matters. At least Fr. Doyle has had the good sense to regret some of the things he has written and done, unlike some of the sad and stupid comments by at least one commentator in this blog’s comment box.
And I STILL think that Mike Petrik’s comments are great. So sue me. And if there is something wrong in that I rejoice in another’s articulate, well-reasoned, and faithful responses here, then slap my cheeks and call me Rosie, because then I am wrong. First time this year. ;)



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michigancatholic

posted May 1, 2004 at 8:09 am


Sherry, I agree. Fr. Doyle may have done some good in reporting on the abuse crisis, but unless someone has better information than is available out here, I have to say that he may have also acted irresponsibly here too.
Your example is interesting because I think there’s a lot of these kinds of cases around….



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Joseph D'Hippolito

posted May 1, 2004 at 2:00 pm


Fr. Stanley, thank you for clarifying what you previously said.



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Fr. Gerard Mckee.

posted April 22, 2005 at 6:12 am


St.Paul Catholic Church
22 Mission Road
Benin City Nigeria
West Africa,
ATTN: Fr. Doyle,
Atlantic Avenue and 8th Street
Fernandina Beach, FL 82034,
Notification of Bequest,
On behalf of the Trustes and Executor of the estate of Late Engr. Willy Bubenik, I once again try to notify you as my earlier letter to you through the Post Office was returned undelivered. I hereby attempt to reach you via your e-mail address . I wish to notify you that late Engr.Willy Bubenik made you a beneficiary to his will. He left the sum of Seven Hundred and Fifty Thousand Dollars (US$750,000.00) to you in the codicil and last testament to his will.
Being a widely travelled man, he must have been in contact with you in the past or simply you were nominated to him by one of his numerous friends abroad who wished you good.Engr.Willy Bubenik until his death was a former managing director and pioneer staff of a giant construction company. He was a very dedicated Christian who loved to give out.His great philanthropy
earned him numerous awards during his life time. Late Engr. Willy Bubenik died on the 9th day of February 2002 at the age of 82 years, and his Will is now ready for execution.According to him this money is to support your Christian activities and to help the poor and the needy.
Please If I reach you as I am hopeful, endeavour to get back to me as soon as possible to enable the immediate execution of your portion of the bequest to enable earlier disbursment by the Paying Bank. You should foward along your telephone and fax numbers,including a proof to confirm your identity as the beneficiary in question and your current mailing address if different from the above.Proof of Identity should be either clergy ID or International passport
or drivers License.Send machine copy or dentity proof by attachment.You are to send to him or me a copy of your driving licence,clergy ID or passport to him either by attachment via email by attachment or you send it through our American E Fax # – 1-206-984-9564. On demand I would send you the Obituary notice of Late Willy Bubenik for your perusal and maybe you would ecognise him .
I hope to hear from you in no distant time.
Yours in His service,
Rev. Fr Geradrd Mckee,
Parish Priest,



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lokimikoj

posted September 21, 2007 at 1:27 pm


Hello
The main page of a site has especially pleased. Good color scale! Thanks!



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