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Resigned

posted by awelborn

Monsignor Clark has resigned – Rocco’s got the goods. As well as another good post on a previous scandal related to a prominent Archdiocesan cleric, Bishop McCarthy



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Rod Dreher

posted August 11, 2005 at 12:54 pm


It is astonishing to me that Msgr. Clark would risk his reputation, all he has built in a lifetime of ministry, the moral authority of the Church, the hopes of his parishioners (he was thought a rock by the orthodox laity of the Archdiocese), the fate of a family, and ultimately his immortal soul, to have an affair with his secretary (assuming, of course, that he has done this — and if he hasn’t, that videotape is pretty damn hard to explain).
Men do this all the time, I know. But not every man is a priest. Not every man is rector of the most important Catholic Church in the most important Catholic diocese in the most important country in the world. It’s just astonishing. If Clark really was seeing a married woman, how on earth could he bring himself to confect and consume the Body and Blood of Christ? To preach the Word of God?
A priest friend of mine was telling me last night, with regard to this and other scandals, that the only thing he figures is that his scandal-ridden confreres at some point ceased to believe in Almighty God.
I wonder if this is going to be enough to quiet people who blame liberalism for the clerical scandals? If this thing proves out, I wonder how long it will be before we start hearing stories about how this tarty secretary took advantage of a poor elderly priest who was not in full control of his mental faculties.



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ajb

posted August 11, 2005 at 1:11 pm


Beyond the scandal this causes, I think the greater harm is its reinforcement of the satanic lie that living chastely is impossible.
Everytime we find that some who preach chastity the loudest are lying through their teeth, or can’t bring themselves to practice what they preach, it gets harder to convince others (and ourselves) that it’s a realistic standard.
The real scandal is not that some DON’T practice what they preach, but the implication that it’s IMPOSSIBLE to practice it.



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Gerard E.

posted August 11, 2005 at 1:15 pm


Rod- when those accusations about ‘tarty
secretary leading old man around by the nose’ come up, refer them to Our Favorite Catholic Teevee Network. And the regular appearances by that ‘old man-‘ particularly his series on the history and architecture of St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Where he looks and sounds sharp as a tack. Hard to tell what will make a man break down. Or why he honestly thought the alleged (throat-clearing sound) affair would exist under the radar of the Post, Daily News, Newsday, 8 teevee newsrooms, 2 all-news radio stations, the Village Voice. But no tears for him from this corner. Without cover from the Archdiocese. What’s good for the gander works for the goose.



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Thom

posted August 11, 2005 at 1:16 pm


I was discussing this case with someone over lunch today. If the Archdiocese of New York had a truly great leader at the helm, I said, he’d have hauled this Clark fella into the chancery pronto and demanded an explanation and issued a statement, saying the rector was suspended while they investigate and get to the bottom of this boondoggle.
Clark is surely guilty of at least one thing: an appalling lapse in judgment that has scandalized an already bruised and battered church. For that alone, he should be horse-whipped and shown the door.
I remember the famous rule-of-thumb of Billy Graham: he never met with a woman in his office without keeping the door open, to avoid even the suggestion of scandal.
If Clark is not guilty, he is certainly stupid.



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Cheeky Lawyer

posted August 11, 2005 at 1:19 pm


A priest friend of mine was telling me last night, with regard to this and other scandals, that the only thing he figures is that his scandal-ridden confreres at some point ceased to believe in Almighty God..
Or a more plausible explanation exists: they are human. That isn’t an excuse. In fact, I find what Rod wrote to be more of an excuse or cop out that seems to separate someone like Msgr. Clark from us who would never do this. This is lamentable behavior if true. But the allure of sin, and the dulling of the moral sense caused by immoral actions can lead even the best of us to grave sin and to perpetual grave sin. Perhaps it started with an almost innocuous bit of flirtation, proceeded to a back-rub, and then continued on to the whole enchilida. Shame was felt. A promise never to do it again was made but the allure of sin returned. Instead of breaking things off and moving away from each other (perhaps I shouldn’t be his secretary anymore, perhaps I should be asked to be reassigned…) they stayed close. She stayed late one night to help. A drink was poured. A line crossed. Clothes came off. Again shame and promises to not do it again but the attraction of that sin was too great and soon it became a regular thing. The fear of revealing oneself, the fear of scandal, the shame of it all prevented Clark from betraying himself and leaving his post; besides he could challenge the world from that pulpit. The softness of the riches he was accustomed to (a $2 million house on Long Island?) also contributed to the dulling of his senses.
But while I find this horrible and wrong and pray to be protected from sin in my own life, I just can’t take the be as shocked or offended or be as exercised as Rod. We are Catholics not Puritans and that means quite a bit. We shouldn’t excuse sin or even be comfortable with it but it seems too that we need to be less shocked by it. And yes at the end of the day as much as I love Rod — and I do, his zeal for the Lord and for purity and for a reform of the Church are wonderful — I just can’t help but find his reaction to this and other incidents of scandal — and they are big scandals — a bit Puritanical. Maybe I am wrong. Maybe I have become too weakened by sin. And I grant that there are examples of saints who engaged in zealous cleansing of the Church. But at the end of the day I just wonder if that is the appropriate response to something like this. Thoughts?



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thomas tucker

posted August 11, 2005 at 1:22 pm


Rod- it is interesting to me that you, and I, find it so astonishing. After all we have learned, and know, about how the ordained are no different than the rest of us!
On the one hand, we know that they are fallible humans just like us, and on the other hand, part of us still wants to hold them to a higher standard. Does the phrase cognitive dissonance ring a bell?



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Jason

posted August 11, 2005 at 1:25 pm


What I want to know is why nobody ever confesses. Nobody’s ever guilty. A priest caught with child porn? Denies it. A priest caught with financial irregularities? Denies it. A priest caught with a woman in a motel room? Denies it. Everyone’s innocent. When’s the last time a priest just said, “Ok, you caught me, I confess, I repent, I will now fade into oblivion.”
I hope to God Monsignor Clark is innocent. These scandals are really getting old…



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carolyn

posted August 11, 2005 at 1:28 pm


There’s nothing new about hypocrisy, even the type where the word hypocrisy just seems so inadequate, even the incidents like this one that occasion such predictable glee and schadenfreude.
Whenever you hear somebody, anybody go on and on with such fervor about moral issues, don’t the alarm bells go off? Instead of simply stating his beliefs in a matter of fact way? I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s suspicious of someone who “protests too much”. In therapy his espoused beliefs are called “reaction formation” I think.



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thomas tucker

posted August 11, 2005 at 1:29 pm


Yes, as old as the Garden of Eden.



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Nancy

posted August 11, 2005 at 1:32 pm


One gathers that he’s been at this for a while, from various articles.
It still baffles. Gary Hart dares the press to find him comitting adultery, and they take him up on it, effectively ending his political career. Bill Clinton can’t keep his hands and other body parts off a 21 year old intern. And this priest wasn’t exactly being discrete.
Power must be attractive, from the female point of view. Bill Clinton at that time (he’s lost weight since) was, to me, about as attractive as a pig. (Well he isn’t much more attractive now, but anything would be better than that.) This priest is 79, and from the pictures, somewhat the worse for wear; the girl is 40, and a long-legged cutie-pie. One would think that if she were interested in adultery she could find someone more appealing?
And, is sex drive so difficult as all that to resist at 79?
I’m with Rod on this one. This isn’t some bewildered 30 year old guy, lonely, confused. This is an eminent cleric of a ripe age. He can’t be thinking that God is watching. Golly, he can’t even figure out that the husband might hire a private investigator.



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Robin

posted August 11, 2005 at 1:34 pm


Cheeky Lawyer, I think you nailed it. Excellent post.



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Nancy

posted August 11, 2005 at 1:36 pm


Here’s the thing.
I want my intellectual leaders, like professors in graduate school, to be unusually intelligent. I want my yoga teacher to be an unusually flexible individual, otherwise why is she teaching yoga?
And I want my spiritual leaders to be, if not perfect, perhaps unusually spiritual.
Especially if they go around claiming to be unusually spiritual.



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Christine

posted August 11, 2005 at 1:41 pm


I relate to Cheeky Lawyer’s comments. These were two adults who chose to enter a situation that never should have been but we’ll probably never know the full circumstances. If the allegations prove true the Monsignor’s career is over (and so is the lady’s generous salary –courtesy of the people in the pews).
That a priest will be held to a higher standard is incontrovertible. That they fail as human beings does not particularly surprise me. I think Catholicism has always had a more realistic view of the highs and lows of human nature.
King David still very much believed in God when he consorted with Bathsheba, and he was an annointed servant of the Most High.



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thomas tucker

posted August 11, 2005 at 1:43 pm


Yes, we want them to be those things. The thing is- sometimes, and maybe even often, they aren’t. That’s one thing I’ve learned, and continue to have to re-learn, as an adult.



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Christine

posted August 11, 2005 at 1:44 pm


“And, is sex drive so difficult as all that to resist at 79? ”
Oh golly Nancy, that reminds me of a talk I once heard by Fr. Benedict Groeschel who told some young men contemplating community life that they’d better get their sexual inclinations under control while they were young because it would become harder — not easier — as they got older.



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Nancy

posted August 11, 2005 at 1:45 pm


OK, thomas, but. If a full professor turns out to be dumb as a post, we don’t say, “OK, you’re within the average range, don’t worry.” He’s unqualified for his job, they dump him.



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Maclin Horton

posted August 11, 2005 at 1:52 pm


Being thoroughly provincial, I’m just now realizing that the St. Patrick’s of which Clark is/was the rector is, like, Saint Patrick’s, right? Good grief. This was folly indeed.
At the risk of being crude: it must be extremely rare for a man in his late ’70s to have both the opportunity and the ability to get into this kind of trouble.
In another post Amy expresses dismay that people are “relieved” that this was a woman. “Relieved” is not the right word, but a consensual affair with a mature woman is surely a lesser evil than child molestation. Still, it’s still a massive blow to the Church. As someone said above, more “proof” that celibacy is impossible.



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thomas tucker

posted August 11, 2005 at 1:59 pm


Nancy- I used to naievely (Good Lord, how do you spell that?) think that what you said is true, but now I don’t.



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hieronymus

posted August 11, 2005 at 2:00 pm


If the Archdiocese of New York had a truly great leader at the helm, I said, he’d have hauled this Clark fella into the chancery pronto and demanded an explanation and issued a statement, saying the rector was suspended while they investigate and get to the bottom of this boondoggle.
Two days from the story breaking to resignation is pretty fast and clean. I’m not a fan of Egan (or a detractor – I don’t know much about him), but unless that his superiors knew any transgressions long before tuesday, it’s hard to fault the Archdiocese for its handling of the matter.
I think we need to brace ourselves for many more scandals of this sort (regardless of whether Clark specifically proves guilty)- Between the ideal of a priest living a perfectly continent life, and a pederast or a rapist, there is an enormous space for transgression, and too many commenators on the scandal have ignored it. Sexual abuse of minors is only the ugliest and most visible edge of the problem – common sense would indicate that the number of priests having legal, consensual sex with men, with married women, or with single women is much higher, and nobody wants to admit it.
This is also a much more difficult part of the problem to fix – because it isn’t illegal (or even scandalous to most non-catholics), law enforcement and secular media won’t prosecute it when our hierarchy fails to do so.



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Thom

posted August 11, 2005 at 2:02 pm


Of course, this also raises the question: if this story is true, was she the first? How many others were there?
And did Clark’s superiors — cardinals and archbishops all — look the other way? Did they have an inkling that fresh air and sunshine weren’t the only things drawing the good monsignor to Amagansett?
Does anyone else find it unusual that this church secretary, working for the archdiocese, was making such a handsome sum of money? ($70,000 or more a year, according to one report…)



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Nancy

posted August 11, 2005 at 2:03 pm


As someone said above, more “proof” that celibacy is impossible.
Well, isn’t that sort of what we’re saying when we say, Oh well, priests are human too? And human means, what? That doing without sex is impossible or improbable or something?



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hieronymus

posted August 11, 2005 at 2:03 pm


sorry about italics



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Patrick Rothwell

posted August 11, 2005 at 2:06 pm


“King David still very much believed in God when he consorted with Bathsheba, and he was an annointed servant of the Most High.”
Good point. I think it is too simplistic to say that an adulterer does not believe in God. In my former parish, there was a guy who (so I was told) a gigilo/hustler who nevertheless regularly attended mass and lit candles before the Blessed Virgin. I doubt seriously he was there to “be seen.” One might dismiss his piety as vague “new age” pap, but he certainly believed in God and his devotion was sincere even if imperfect. He was not a priest, of course. But, the logic is applicable to Clark as well, if it is true that he did have an affair with that woman.
Recently, I read the wonderful book “Loose Canon” which is a series of essays about the eccentric Brian Brindley, the former Anglican vicar turned journalist for the Catholic Herald. He was forced from his parish after a British tabloid did a sting operation, in which a reporter secretly taped Brindley’s admissions of sexual interest in young men. One of the essayists, a former Anglican priest turned Jesuit architectural historian, said that Brindley, near the end of his life, personally told him that in his adult life he never once doubted the goodness of God nor the truths of the Christian religion. The essayist said he believed Brindley, despite Brindley’s chequered history. Perhaps this could equally be said of Msgr. Clark.



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Mark Shea

posted August 11, 2005 at 2:08 pm


I’m basically with Cheeky on this. Maybe it’s my Evangelical background showing, but I regard Holy Orders as grace, not magic. I don’t have this fundamental expectation that a priest is somehow something other than a human being with all the pathologies flesh is heir to. It doesn’t excuse the sin, but it also doesn’t make the sins of clergy perpetually shocking to me. They’re just people. I don’t think of clergy as “more spiritual” than the rest of us. I think of them as having a different set of charisms and calling than the rest of us. And since I know that I, with my particular set of charisms and calling (everybody has one), am not thereby immunized from the capacity to do great evil, I see no reason to think they are. Mostly I think “Under the wrong circumstances, that could just as easily have been me” and pray for the guy that his fall will do the job of bringing him to repentance.
It is amazing that, this many years into the Scandal, he would act so flamboyantly. Makes me wonder if there’s a kind of death wish involved. Or maybe it’s just a particularly flagrant example of the Sin Makes You Stupid Principle.
Anyway, I’m glad the guy is gone. God help the flock who trusted him to heal. And God help the husband who was cuckolded.



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Brian Lester

posted August 11, 2005 at 2:09 pm


italics off



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Christine

posted August 11, 2005 at 2:20 pm


“And human means, what?”
It means that, no matter what our vocation, we all have a common physiological/psychological makeup that if — IF — allowed to be exposed to what is commonly called “near occasions of sin” will sometimes manifest itself. Our nature makes it possible to allow our emotions to overwhelm our reason. Bill Clinton, after all, was married and — at least in theory — had access to a “normal” sex life.
Priests are no more immune to this than anyone else. But I have no doubt there are many who have faithfully lived out their calling.



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Patrick Rothwell

posted August 11, 2005 at 2:22 pm


“Maybe it’s my Evangelical background showing, but I regard Holy Orders as grace, not magic. I don’t have this fundamental expectation that a priest is somehow something other than a human being with all the pathologies flesh is heir to.”
I think that CL is on the mark. It’s not Holy Orders as magic so much as Puritanism, namely, the Calvinist ideas of the predestination of elect and irresistable grace where the evidence of the fact that a person is a true Christians – one of the chosen – is a lack of sin. Once a minister is exposed as a sinner, it’s as if he never was a Christian to begin with and his entire ministry was a fraud from the get-go. I’m not saying that the people who are shocked by these scandals are Calvinist Puritans, especially when one knows the people involved, but still that is the dominant religious ethos of this country and people are influenced by their surroundings, whether they are Catholic, Protestants, or even aggressively anti-religious.



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Ed

posted August 11, 2005 at 2:27 pm


Is that expensive home in L.I. owned by the diocese ? Was Msgr. Clark the actual owner.
So much for poverty, chastity, and obedience – they’ve pretty much gone out the window.
As others have asked, “How did he get away with it for so long ? Did the hierarchy look the other way ?” Maybe the old saying is true :
“The Devil looks after his own.”



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Regina

posted August 11, 2005 at 2:29 pm


AMY said (in an unopened thread below):
“Why one would be relieved at a champion of orthodoxy discrediting all he claimed to believe was true and worth living for?”
Orthodoxy, which is the ancient teaching of the Church, can’t be “discredited” by our sins anymore than God’s plan was “discredited” by Adam’s choice to disobey.
ROD says:
“A priest friend of mine was telling me last night, with regard to this and other scandals, that the only thing he figures is that his scandal-ridden confreres at some point ceased to believe in Almighty God.” Would his priest friend say that everytime Rod sins (and, really, as challenging as that is to imagine, you must, Rod) he has “ceased to believe in Almighty God”? “Ceased to believe”? Isn’t this extreme rhetoric? And to what end? So that he could insert: “I wonder if this is going to be enough to quiet people who blame liberalism for the clerical scandals?”
NANCY writes:”This isn’t some bewildered 30 year old guy, lonely, confused. This is an eminent cleric of a ripe age”. Who could also be lonely.
Clark never struck me as a self-righteous Elmer Gantry. He never, according to NANCY, deserved: “Especially if they go around claiming to be unusually spiritual”. He said, rightly, that our society is sex-saturated and, prophetically, that priests are only so strong. While this is sad and not good and he must resign his post, it doesn’t seem “scandalous” to me at all.



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amy

posted August 11, 2005 at 2:29 pm


Ed:
In one article I read, it said that the home had been Clark’s for 46 years – so it might have been family or something he bought when property values were much lower.
(Lots of priests I know of in FL have their beach condos..)



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Rod Dreher

posted August 11, 2005 at 2:31 pm


Sorry, Mark, you know I respect you and send positive rays of love in your general direction, but I can’t accept your view of the priesthood — from a merely human point of view.
I think only the most naive and foolish of us would expect there never to be sin among the clergy. I take it as given that nobody here harbors that illusion. But it seems to me a startling leap to go from that truth to greeting the (apparent, not proved) adultery a prominent Catholic priest carried out with a wife and mother as just one of those things that we hapless humans get into.
When a police officer breaks the law, it is a much bigger deal than if an accountant or a burger-flipper breaks the law. That’s because we depend on the cop to uphold the law. He not only upholds the law, he embodies the law to a large extent. “To whom much is given, much is expected.” Any community has to believe that its police officers, as a general rule, are irreproachable. When police departments are shown to be systemically corrupt, you have laid the groundwork for civil breakdown.
The same is true with soldiers, and with religious leaders. Msgr Clark was just a man, but he was also a priest of the living God. Much more is expected of any man in his position, because he fulfills an important symbolic function. Think about this: there are two DeFilippo children; if it were proven that their mother were having an affair with the butcher, they wouldn’t become vegetarians; but if it is proven that their mother was having an affair with a beloved and trusted Catholic priest, they may well become ex-Catholics.



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Paul Pfaffenberger

posted August 11, 2005 at 2:32 pm


Its not the sin that is perplexing. We all understand how to give in to temptation. Its his ability to preach so publicly against the evils of our sexualized society while carrying on with his secretary; his upholding “family values” while destroying a family, that is so disconerting. At least to me.



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Simon

posted August 11, 2005 at 2:33 pm


Cheeky Lawyer — excellent post. You hit the ball out of the park with that one.
What Msgr. Clark appears to have done is truly appalling — serially violated his ordination vows, given grave public scandal (as ajb rightly says, promoting the lie that celibacy is impossible to live), broken up a marriage, alienated a mother from her children. Regardless of whether a civil crime has been committed (which the Archdiocesan spokeman yesterday disgracefully implied was the only important question), if these allegations are true Msgr. Clark has no business serving as a priest.
But terrible as this conduct is, it’s not especially surprising. All people are made of the same stuff. Once we stop struggling, perhaps in small ways, to live chastity, it becomes easier and easier to fall, no matter what our position in life and no matter how sincere our moral convictions may be.
As a practical matter, hiring an attractive young woman to work in the rectory with celibate men is plain foolishness, and someone should have pointed that out. Put an older, authoritative man in a position where he has regular, close contact alone with a young, attractive woman and there’s always a good chance that stuff is going to happen. That’s not politically correct to say, but frankly it’s common sense, and once upon a time everyone understood it.
The other thing that should have raised eyebrows in the Archdiocese was the Monsignor’s $2 million beach house! Diocesan priests obviously do not take a vow of poverty, but celibacy and opulence do not exactly go hand in hand. Again, this ought to be common sense, but alas that seems in short supply these days.



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Daniel W

posted August 11, 2005 at 2:36 pm


Reading Cheeky Lawyer’s thoughts: But the allure of sin, and the dulling of the moral sense caused by immoral actions can lead even the best of us to grave sin and to perpetual grave sin.
and then Nancy’s counter-point: He can’t be thinking that God is watching. Golly, he can’t even figure out that the husband might hire a private investigator.
made me think of a point that Mark Shea is always reminding us: “Sin makes you stupid.”



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Mark Shea

posted August 11, 2005 at 2:42 pm


Rod:
Something about your note has been bugging me and I haven’t been able to put my finger on it, but I think it’s this passage:
Men do this all the time, I know. But not every man is a priest. Not every man is rector of the most important Catholic Church in the most important Catholic diocese in the most important country in the world.
I think maybe it’s that last sentence that gets me. Because it seems to me to proceed from a profoundly non-Christian apprehension of the human person, yet one which almost all of us, in our heart of hearts, believe. It’s like saying, “How *could* he commit adultery with Bathsheba? He’s king!” or “How could Israel worship the Golden Calf? They were given the First Commandment!” or “How could Nixon be a crook when he has the office of the President?” or “How can we possibly sin? We are sons of Abraham!”
What underlies all this is the notion that something fundamentally external to us is what constitutes our character? Why on earth would anybody believe this? Yet it’s the driving principle behind everything from consumerism to Phariseeism.
How could Clark do this when he is rector of the most important Catholic Church in the most important Catholic diocese in the most important country in the world? Easy. Since earthly riches, prominence and position are absolutely no guarantee of interior virtue. It is folly to think they are and greater folly to be surprised when they do not accomplish what they utterly incapable of doing.



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Moze

posted August 11, 2005 at 2:47 pm


“if it were proven that their mother were having an affair with the butcher, they wouldn’t become vegetarians; but if it is proven that their mother was having an affair with a beloved and trusted Catholic priest, they may well become ex-Catholics.”
Yet another example of inadequate catechesis, starting with the Fall, and the urgent need for the fullness of the Faith to be taught. It covers matters like this, Rod.



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Moze

posted August 11, 2005 at 2:48 pm


“if it were proven that their mother were having an affair with the butcher, they wouldn’t become vegetarians; but if it is proven that their mother was having an affair with a beloved and trusted Catholic priest, they may well become ex-Catholics.”
Yet another example of inadequate catechesis, starting with the Fall, and the urgent need for the fullness of the Faith to be taught. It covers matters like this, Rod.



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carolyn

posted August 11, 2005 at 2:51 pm


What does cathesis have to do with this? Anyone with two brain cells to rub together could see that witnessing clergy misbehavior will not make Catholicism more attractive.



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patrick

posted August 11, 2005 at 2:51 pm


i do not think the big issue is if there was a sexual relationship. if there was never any sexual relationship, the whole dynamic has been spinning out of control for a long time.
the priest has a two million dollar home in long islands exclusive vacation section?
he has a secretary who is making 80,000 to 100,000 a year, and they take expensive vacations, eat at the trendy spots etc?
they travel out to the island and she wears ‘short-shorts’? when she is tired they rent a motel room together in false names so she can sleep?
it seems a relationship that should have been kept on a totally professional level, broke allcommon sense boundaries and even if no sexual activity occured, the relationship should have been ended years ago when it became more ‘friendly’ than professional.
he is living in a rectory, common sense boundaries are being broken and ignored all over in this relationship, and no one calls him aside and challenges him ?
this just seems to be the old story of pride and arrogrance. the only hope in all this is that he is 79 and perhaps his mental abilities and judgements are slipping and these currents lapses of judgements are due to that and are not systemic of the whole relationship over the years.



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Rod Dreher

posted August 11, 2005 at 2:55 pm


[Re: the $2 million beach house, it looks bad, but he's had that house for almost 40 years, I think, and it was surely worth much, much less when he bought it. The house is in the Hamptons, where the price of real estate has gone through the stratosphere.]
I wanted to make one more point off my previous post, this one about what it means when an orthodox priest pulls crap like this. We all know, or should know, that the profession of orthodoxy does not guarantee good behavior. Still, it’s natural to believe in orthodox priests (or laymen, like Deal Hudson) who put themselves out there as leaders of the orthodox. If you had to walk around distrusting everybody, you’d drive yourself crazy.
It is a serious shock to the system, then, to discover that priests who are on “your team” — by which I mean orthodox priests you’ve learned to trust — get into messes like this. A year ago, in an affair that was much chronicled and commented on here, my wife and I got involved in Our Lady of X. parish in the Dallas area. It was an orthodox parish pastored by an intelligent and orthodox pastor. It seemed to be a real refuge from the calamity befalling the general church. We felt we’d finally found a place of refuge. It was good not to be filled up with anger and suspicion at mass.
As you may recall, it turned out that the assistant priest of the parish, a publicly and articulately orthodox man, was not there in an official capacity, that he was on some sort of leave, and may have been officially suspended, by the Diocese of Scranton after he had been formally accused of sexual misconduct with a minor. The pastor down here knew of the accusation against him, but let him work in the parish anyway, choosing to disbelieve them. The pastor hid from his bishop the fact that he was allowing this priest to work here, and he hid it from his congregation. I found out about it inadvertently, by catching the asst priest in a lie. Then it all unraveled. When the bishop found out about it, he ordered the asst priest sent away. Mind you, the asst priest has never been convicted of anything … but nor has he been cleared, and as such he had no business ministering in that parish, not after 2002.
Anyway, most of the parish rallied around their pastor. And that was that.
This was perhaps the most shocking thing my wife and I have gone through in three years of shocking revelations related to the scandal. Why? Because we had been foolish enough to trust the pastor because he was publicly orthodox (and indeed, none of his actions involved repudiating doctrine). We were fools. Still, it was deeply, deeply unnerving to us, because you’d think we of all people would have been able to see this coming. But we didn’t, because we trusted.
We have not recovered from this. I simply don’t know who to trust anymore in the Church. Had this happened to a liberal priest, it would have made more sense to me, and in any case I wouldn’t have taken it so personally because I wouldn’t have expected more out of him. But I had grown accustomed to trusting orthodox priests. Stupid me. Won’t make that mistake again.



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Simon

posted August 11, 2005 at 2:56 pm


Rod Dreher says: “Msgr Clark was just a man, but he was also a priest of the living God. Much more is expected of any man in his position, because he fulfills an important symbolic function.”
This is quite right, and (I hope!) no one would debate this point. Adultery by a prominent Catholic priest is even more seriously sinful than adultery by a layman.
But I think two different points are being made on this thread. Yes, this conduct is evil — violating ordination and marital vows, breaking up a family, scandalizing the husband and children and doubtless many others. But is it surprising?
Are we really astonished that a man can vow himself to celibacy, preach the word of God, celebrate the sacraments, and (presumably sincerely) condemn adultery and other forms of illicit sex — and yet simultaneously engage in the very behavior he rightly condemns?
I am not. This isn’t a cynical comment on the clergy or a false assumption that “everyone does it.” And it’s absolutely not an excuse for this man’s behavior, which deserves condemnation and severe punishment.
But there is an important Catholic understanding of the human person as a deep and unfathomable mystery. We all have a dominant vice or one sort or another inside us, and unless we simultaneously engage in ascetical struggle and abandon ourselves daily to the mercy of God, that vice (or vices) will eventually get the best of us. Then, like the man from whom Our Lord expelled the 7 demons, our last state will be worse than our first.
Kyrie Eleison!



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Jason

posted August 11, 2005 at 3:01 pm


Was it St. Therese of Lisieux who took a trip and was scandalized at the vices of a few priests? I’m sure they were perfectly orthodox men. Sin knows no boundaries. It is, however, obvious that the closer you place yourself to an occasion of sin, the more likely it will be for you to fall into one. If a priest spends his life approving of homosexuality for his flock, it would be no puzzle why he fell into it himself.



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Todd

posted August 11, 2005 at 3:03 pm


“Had this happened to a liberal priest, it would have made more sense to me, and in any case I wouldn’t have taken it so personally because I wouldn’t have expected more out of him. But I had grown accustomed to trusting orthodox priests. Stupid me.”
Somebody sees the light!



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Rod Dreher

posted August 11, 2005 at 3:03 pm


Mark: How could Clark do this when he is rector of the most important Catholic Church in the most important Catholic diocese in the most important country in the world? Easy. Since earthly riches, prominence and position are absolutely no guarantee of interior virtue. It is folly to think they are and greater folly to be surprised when they do not accomplish what they utterly incapable of doing.
Mark, what I was getting at is the idea that those who are given great responsibility are expected (rightly) to exercise greater responsibility. To take the principle to the extreme, the fact that a man is made Holy Roman Pontiff does not guarantee that man’s holiness. But it sure makes it a lot more shocking, and materially devastating to the faithful, when he commits grave sin. It would be more damaging to people’s faith if Pope Benedict were photographed coming and going from a no-tell motel with a married woman who worked on his staff than if the rector of St. Patrick’s Cathedral fell into that kind of situation. It is more damaging to people’s faith that the rector of St. Patrick’s Cathedral has done this than it would be if Mrs. DeFilippo had gotten tangled up with the McDonalds’ morning-shift manager. Stands to reason.
If I were to cheat on my wife, I couldn’t stand in front of my boys and tell them, “You see, children, Dad did wrong, but you really can’t expect me to be much different from any other man, because the fact that I am your mother’s husband and your father doesn’t make me any holier than anybody else.” That might be correct in a narrow theological sense, but in truth, the fact that I’d promised to be faithful to their mother, and that I owed it to those children of mine to honor that vow, requires me to be holier than your average asshole. And it’s ridiculous to pretend that my children wouldn’t expect more of me than they would of the man down the street.



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Mark Shea

posted August 11, 2005 at 3:04 pm


Rod:
I have this vague sense that we are working toward a consensus from the opposite end of some spectrum. The problem is, I don’t know what the spectrum is or where the ends or the middle are.
I’m not saying the Msgr. has not despicably betrayed his office. I’m not blind to the damage his betrayal can do to victims of his sin. In the same way, I recognize there is greater gravity when a cop sins then when a burger-flipper does.
Yet still, I am not *shocked* by the sins of either. I’m not astonished. I don’t leap to the conclusion that the sinner has ceased to believe in God. And I don’t think the trappings of their office guarantee a confirmed habit of virtue by the power of the Holy Spirit. I guess what I mean is that I don’t expect clergy to be saints. I expect *saints* to be saints. There are people who sanctity is such that I really would be shocked if *they* sinned gravely. But there aren’t many. Most people seem to me to be schleps pretty much like me, capable of all sort of ugliness under the wrong circumstance. And I’ve never believed that a collar or a veil automatically changed that. I’ve known *one* priest in my life who would have shocked me if he’d sinned gravely–because he was a saint. I’ve known several laypeople in the same class. But the average person–lay or ordained or religious–is, I presume, *average* and therefore quite capable of sinning gravely under the wrong circumstances.



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pacetua

posted August 11, 2005 at 3:04 pm


I can’t help but think of a dear priest whose homilies I used to enjoy very much. He used to say something like: Don’t go around being proud of the fact that you’ve never committed adultery. Has anybody ever asked you to? You can’t pat yourself on the back for avoiding this sin unless someone has asked–after all, maybe you’re just not that attractive!
I think the point of Father’s homily was this: virtue consists of both avoiding AND resisting sin. That’s why Cheeky Lawer’s comment at 1:19 above rings so true.



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Simon

posted August 11, 2005 at 3:24 pm


Rod Dreher: I simply don’t know who to trust anymore in the Church. Had this happened to a liberal priest, it would have made more sense to me, and in any case I wouldn’t have taken it so personally because I wouldn’t have expected more out of him. But I had grown accustomed to trusting orthodox priests.
You raise another good point, Rod. “Orthodoxy” has become shorthand (longhand?) for “good” among devout Catholics, and not entirely without reason. If a priest publicly denies revealed truth and teaches that sin is okay, that priest is bad news.
But while orthodoxy in doctrine and liturgical practice may be a necessary condition for a good priest, it is not a sufficient one. God wants priests — and lay people — to seek Him first above all things. That means a life of prayer and self denial in accordance with one’s state in life.
There are many priests who live simple, even austere lives, and who spend time daily alone in prayer before the Tabernacle. My own family has been blessed to know several such priests. There are more of them than you may think, and they are very worthy of anyone’s trust.
But there are also some “orthodox” priests out there who preach eloquent homilies, enjoy extraordinary material comfort, and don’t seem to find much time amid their busy schedules for personal prayer. Often, at least in my experience, such priests are great fundraisers and spend a lot of time in the company of the well-to-do. These you cannot trust. But this problem goes all the way back to the Pharisees — whitened sepulchres.



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Christine

posted August 11, 2005 at 3:25 pm


“When a police officer breaks the law, it is a much bigger deal than if an accountant or a burger-flipper breaks the law. That’s because we depend on the cop to uphold the law. He not only upholds the law, he embodies the law to a large extent. “To whom much is given, much is expected.” Any community has to believe that its police officers, as a general rule, are irreproachable. When police departments are shown to be systemically corrupt, you have laid the groundwork for civil breakdown.
The same is true with soldiers, and with religious leaders.”
Exactly. That’s the whole point. Any construct of society CAN break down. I still remember when my husband was offered a position on the Cleveland Vice Squad and he turned it down. He said he saw too many good cops fall due to the temptations of drugs, confiscated money, etc. He didn’t want to place himself in that situation and risk not being able to resist it.
I’ve always wondered at the mysterious references to lawlessness that the New Testament alludes to in the end times and how it would spread throughout the world. That it should even infest itself into the Church does not surprise me.
And any “liberal” who would rejoice and the fall of another “conservative” or vice versa had better send the morality police through corporate America.
They’ll find stuff that will really make their hair stand on end.
When a cleric’s morality talk doesn’t match his morality walk, he’s gotta go. It’s tragic, it makes us mad as hell, but Christ still rules in his Church.



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adjuration

posted August 11, 2005 at 3:45 pm


“We have not recovered from this. I simply don’t know who to trust anymore in the Church.”
I sense a tone of entitlement in many posts on scandals in the Church. Of course pastors shouldn’t lie or commit adultery. Parents shouldn’t abuse their children. Policemen shouldn’t commit crimes. Accountants shouldn’t embezzle and doctors shouldn’t kill.
Rather than demanding that God send us spiritual leaders to our liking, we need to open our eyes to the graces He already sends in abundance. We have to wake up and realize that WE might be the leaders He is sending to make up for the folly and sin of some of his priests. Maybe some of us are called to be a rock and source of strength for our neighbors; maybe the lack of someone else to lean on and look to is our particular cross.
And maybe someone should show the bishops where the “easy” button is so they could press it and all this would go away.



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Christine

posted August 11, 2005 at 3:48 pm


And let’s not forget that if the allegations prove irrefutably true that Clark dishonored his priestly vows Mrs. DeFilippo broke her vows to the Sacrament of Marriage. She is no 21 year old ingenue and shares the responsibility for this awful mess.



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Mila Morales

posted August 11, 2005 at 4:09 pm


Simon is right. Orthodoxy has become synonimous with “good”. Like Simon, my family has been blessed knowing many good and faithful priests, but I’m sure, as he says, that they were good because they led deep prayer lives. And when prayer goes, everything else goes with it.
I don’t think priest incapable of sin, that would be absurd. I would suppose that the devil is after them more eagerly than after the rest of us. What better victory for the devil than to get the one who acts “in persona Christi” to fall.
This is all infinitely sad. Sad to us; sadder still to the Heart of Christ. And while we do well to comment and to condemn what’s worthy of condemnation, let us say a prayer for all priests. Lord knows they need our prayers!



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DarwinCatholic

posted August 11, 2005 at 4:15 pm


You raise another good point, Rod. “Orthodoxy” has become shorthand (longhand?) for “good” among devout Catholics, and not entirely without reason. If a priest publicly denies revealed truth and teaches that sin is okay, that priest is bad news.
I think Simon has an important point to remember here. It’s easy to get into thinking that the primary good in the priest is Orthodoxy, because it can be so hard to find an orthodox priest in the first place these days. But in fact, orthodoxy is just the minimum requirement for a good priest.
Clearly, if a priest teaches falsehood rather than truth (or simply never teaches much except the lesson he learned from the last re-run of I Love Lucy) then he’s failing in his mission. But if a priest teaches the truth, but doesn’t live it or doesn’t have any decent kind of prayer life, then he’s still not being a good priest.
I wonder if this is one of the pieces to the “what happened after Vatican II” puzzle. Perhaps while being very good at cranking out serminarians from an othrodox cookie cutter, we hadn’t done nearly enough to ensure that our priests (and laity) were actually living vibrant and prayerful lives as Christians.



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Mark Shea

posted August 11, 2005 at 5:15 pm


Rod sez:
I simply don’t know who to trust anymore in the Church… I had grown accustomed to trusting orthodox priests.
I guess this is another place where we seem to have struck fundamentally different bargains with God. I don’t have a big problem going on trusting people (including clergy) because I don’t have the notion that orthodoxy guarantees impeccability. I trust a strange priest about as much as I trust a strange layperson. I don’t assume they are predatory monsters, but neither would I drop my kids off with them. I don’t assume each person on the street wants to mug me and rape my wife. I don’t go around in fear that every merchant I buy from is looking for a way to cheat me. But I still practice normal precautions. Same with clergy.
And if they are orthodox, I conclude they are orthodox, not that they can’t be riddled with sins and pathologies. Indeed, some of the most worst priests (in terms of mental and sometimes moral health) I’ve known were men who were sticklers for rigid theological correctness. Mere orthodoxy of doctrine guarantees *nothing* about whether they are good men. Certainly it helps, as long as we have cooperated with grace in other ways beyond the intellect. But it’s not a sure-fire litmus test.



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Mark Shea

posted August 11, 2005 at 5:20 pm


“some of the most worst priests”
Time for a nap.



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reluctant penitent

posted August 11, 2005 at 5:23 pm


“I wonder if this is one of the pieces to the “what happened after Vatican II” puzzle. Perhaps while being very good at cranking out serminarians from an othrodox cookie cutter, we hadn’t done nearly enough to ensure that our priests (and laity) were actually living vibrant and prayerful lives as Christians.”
It seems strange to associate the post-V2 period with ‘cranking out seminarians from an orthodox cookie cutter’. Can you explain?



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reluctant penitent

posted August 11, 2005 at 5:38 pm


Orthodoxy is hazardous. Some of the orthodox are combative loudmouths, others torture themselves with excessive scruples, and every one of them is guilty of hypocrisy when sinning and of scandal sinning publicly.
But are these hazards a reason to be heterodox? The question is not whether the orthodox are fools, hypocrites or cause scandal when they sin but whether they were correct in proclaiming what they did in the first place.
What is the right approach to doctrine when one is sinning? To tell everyone else that sins of this kind are not so bad after all? Even sinners ought to proclaim orthodoxy–not because they live up to it but because it is true.



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HP

posted August 11, 2005 at 6:06 pm


Not to excuse Clark, but it does take two to tango…men can be tempted…shall we get into who made the ouvertures? I wouldn’t be the one to throw the first stone but I wouldn’t bet on myself as not being the first one to fall.



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reluctant penitent

posted August 11, 2005 at 6:14 pm


HP,
Have you seen the pictures? It’s a safe bet that the woman was not forcing the good Monsignor to ‘tango.’



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Christine

posted August 11, 2005 at 9:30 pm


We might also keep in mind that according to Scripture and the teaching of the Church that we are not fighting against earthly powers only. That mystery of inquity that St. Paul wrote about was never guaranteed not to find a home in the clergy, too.
I do believe that a priest can go through all the right motions, do all the right things but if he is not a man of deep prayer and constant trust in God’s grace he can fall just as surely as any of the rest of us. “Orthodoxy” can become very meaningless.
Perhaps a stint with a Catholic Worker house might have done Monsigner Clark some good, living on the barest of necessities and embracing the evangelical counsel of poverty.
I disagree somewhat with Mark as to the relationship of the laity and the clergy, perhaps because of my high church Lutheran roots. While I agree we are all called to holiness I think Scripture is pretty clear that those who have been called to shepherd the flock will also be judged by a much more stringent standard. On the other hand, priests are supposed to go to confession and show repentance the same as any layperson.



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Jimmy Mac

posted August 12, 2005 at 12:50 am


“I don’t have this fundamental expectation that a priest is somehow something other than a human being with all the pathologies flesh is heir to.”
Amen & Amen! I hope my not-so-secret sins don’t get exposed in public as did Clark’s non-so-secret sins.
Age does not decrease loneliness in the lonely. A conservative theology does not eliminate an inclination to sin.
Expectations of Catholic clergy by the Catholic faithful do no guarantee success.
There but for the grace of God go we all.



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David

posted August 12, 2005 at 4:28 am


Nancy This is for you.
Law lags in tackling sex abuse in schools
The Associated Press
ALBANY — Nicholas Provanzana was the kind of teacher administrators, fellow teachers and students at Washingtonville High School loved — “the coolest teacher alive,” according to one music student’s Internet posting in 2003.
They didn’t know he had pleaded guilty to “offensive touching” of a minor in New Jersey after a night of heavy drinking and sex games in 2000 with two female students, according to New York state records. He served 60 days in jail and was on five years probation when he began teaching at Washingtonville, Orange County, state education records revealed.
Provanzana was among at least 77 men and women school employees, from New York City to the smallest rural districts, who lost their licenses over the past five years for sexual misconduct involving students, according to records obtained under the state Freedom of Information Law.
Common reason
Beyond brief scandals in local headlines, the records show sex with students and sex-related offenses are by far the most common reason licenses are revoked or denied.
Many of the teachers, principals, aides and coaches — men and women — abused children for months or years before their licenses were revoked. Rather than one-time sexual assaults, most are termed “sexual relationships” that can last months.
The state records mirror the growing concern nationwide about sexual abuse of children in schools. Action against the abuse is hindered by victims’ fear of not being believed, a bureaucracy that makes enforcement lengthy, uncertain and costly, and, often, fear of scandal.
“We really aren’t uncovering or investigating or aware of the full extent of what is happening,” said Professor Charol Shakeshaft of Hofstra University, who has studied educator sexual abuse in New York and last year wrote an analysis of the scant research in the area for the U.S. Department of Education. She said the best study found nearly one in 10 students nationwide are targets of “educator sexual misconduct.”
The state records don’t include private schools, which aren’t subject to the same reporting requirements as public schools unless a teacher has a state license.
Last week, a former English teacher at the all-boys Christian Brothers Academy in Albany was charged with rape for allegedly having sex with a student. Sandra Geisel, 42, was charged with two counts of third-degree rape and two counts of endangering the welfare of a child, police said.
Educator abuse in public schools costs taxpayers millions of dollars in lawsuits and settlements — New York City alone paid $18.7 million in five years ending in 2001 to sexually abused students.
Effect on victims listed
Victims can suffer a loss of attention span and studying skills, lower grades, fear and embarrassment, sleep disorders and more, Shakeshaft’s study said.
“A lot of the misconduct is carried out by people who have been in schools a long time and were doing this for a long time and, finally, somebody noticed,” Shakeshaft said. “It’s probably not one child, but lots of children.”
There are several reasons abuse isn’t reported right away, if at all.
“In my interviews with school administrators, a lot of them don’t particularly want it to come out because it’s not something they would like the community to be aware of,” she said. “Teachers tell me if, ‘If I’m wrong and make a big deal of this, it will ruin a career.’ I tell them if they are right about it and don’t report it, they will ruin a kid’s life.”
“But more often it’s a lack of knowledge … they are working in an organization that is not telling them what to do,” Shakeshaft said.
Any time accusations of sexual misconduct are made, the criminal justice system should be included, said Marjorie Smith, Dutchess County senior assistant district attorney.
“It’s important when allegations like these are made that they get reported to law enforcement,” said Smith, who added if schools let law enforcement agencies do such investigations “it’s more likely to result overall, I think, in an objective finding.”
Complaints increasing
The number of complaints about school employees’ moral conduct increased from 673 in 1998 to 980 in 2004, topping 1,000 three times, according to Education Department records.
But most cases were deemed not credible by the state or there wasn’t enough evidence to proceed, said Jonathan Burman, spokesman for the state Education Department. The number of licenses revoked, surrendered, suspended has averaged 40 since 1998.
Of 113 case reports provided by the state in which licenses were revoked or denied in the last five years, 77 involved sex offenses, mostly after criminal convictions. Of 74 revocations, 59 were for sex acts involving children.
Other reasons for license revocation or denial included cheating by teachers on standardized tests taken by their students, larceny, drug dealing and drunken driving.
Shakeshaft called for two hours of focused training each year for school staff with a mandate to turn over reports to police to investigate, rather than school administrators who aren’t trained to do so and could be motivated to close a case before it becomes public.
Burman said the state already requires training for all school personnel on mandated reporting of sexual abuse. The training must be provided to teachers, nurses, counselors, psychologists, social workers, administrators and school board members.
Superintendent Mary DeRose of Kings Park on Long Island said there are likely many more cases than are reflected in the records the state made public. In her experience, some teachers quit and move before they’re charged or other cases are settled with the district.
Incidents hushed up
She acknowledge her district tries to keep the incidents from the public because of union and legal restrictions aimed at protecting the teacher. That advice comes from the district’s lawyers.
“I think we’re doing the best we can under difficult circumstances,” she said. “Remember, there is a lot of due process … and you have to keep paying them” while an investigation is done and the teacher is assigned to home or duties away from children. “It can take a long, long time.”
She supports more training for school employees, but said there also must be greater law enforcement power to quickly handle a case and better investigate the backgrounds of prospective hires.
State law requires fingerprinting of new hires and applicants are asked if they ever left a job or were fired because of disciplinary action or even the prospect of disciplinary action. The state records include cases in which applicants lied and were caught in a criminal background check before they were hired or, in some cases, years afterward.
Alleged incidents can go unaddressed for years.
Harry E. Lynch was accused of having “frequent sexual intercourse with a female student” in his music class at Ketcham High School in Wappingers Falls from 1993 to 1995, according to state records.
He resigned in an agreement with the school in 2003. He never before had a disciplinary action against him in his 27-year career despite “rumors throughout the school” of the relationship in 1994-95, the records stated.
Allegations surfaced only after Lynch allegedly started a sexual relationship with a younger student, the records showed. The state revoked his license in 2004, but records said no criminal charges were brought. The state Education Department’s case was made against Lynch based on the testimony of the first victim, who was then in college.
“She states that as a result of the relationship, she lost her innocence and self-respect,” a state investigator wrote. “It was obvious as she was testifying that this relationship has caused her great difficulty over the past 10 years.”
Attempts to reach Wappingers Superintendent Richard Powell and board President Anthony Locicero Saturday were unsuccessful.
States take action
The national education journal Education Week reports states are starting to pay attention. Many states, including New York, have in recent years outlawed the long-standing “passing the trash” practice in which districts elicited quiet resignations in exchange for silence about the abuse to the public and even other districts looking to hire the offender.
“We’ve heard of principals and vice principals trying to contain it and not call law enforcement, and there’s a lack of training of teachers and administrators on how exactly they should respond,” said Grier Weeks, executive director of the National Association to Protect Children that operates in 50 states and nine countries. “No one wants to cause the same kind of crisis in our schools that happened to the Catholic Church and that’s why schools have got to take care of it themselves.”
Journal writers Kathianne Boniello and Larry Fisher-Hertz contributed to this report.
New York policy
The decision to revoke the license or deny a license to a teacher accused of sexual misconduct with students must survive lengthy due process and the state’s Section 753.
The formal policy called Section 753 in state corrections law requires officials “to encourage the licensing and employment of persons previously convicted of one or more criminal offenses” if the criminal background doesn’t affect their teaching or pose a threat.
Section 753 was part of the defense teacher Ricky M. Gonzales used in 2000 to seek to regain his teaching license. He had surrendered the license in 1994 after he was convicted of endangering the welfare of a child and receiving a sentence of three years probation, according to state records. The case states Gonzales, then 36, had a sexual relationship for several months on and off school grounds with a 15-year-old girl who was attending an unnamed school in the Cortland area. A three-member state panel recommended he get his credentials back.
State Education Commissioner Richard Mills rejected the recommendation.
Cases listed
Many reports of sex between school employees and students can take years to surface and often is the result of a police investigation, state records show.
Among the cases:
David C. Pearlman was an English teacher since 1972 and a licensed administrator since 1990. He was accused last year of having an “inappropriate sexual relationship” with a girl student from 1979 to 1982, the girl’s sophomore through senior years at Rye Neck Union Free School District. His license was revoked.
Dixie Lee Kucharski had her special education teaching license revoked in 2002 after a 16-year career. She was accused of having a sexual relationship with a 15-year-old boy in 1995.
Duncan Ververs, who obtained his license to teach physical education in 1978, lost that license in 2003. The Brighton Central School District teacher was accused of sexual harassment of students, for which he received a “counseling memo” in the 2000-01 school year. Later, the state learned he had been accused of being involved in a sexual relationship with two other girls in the 1970s and early 1980s.
Peter Helion surrendered his license in 2000 while a social studies teacher at Highland central schools after the district accused him of sexual relationships “with a number of female students in the 1980s.” His application to regain his teaching license was denied in 2004. Helion, one of the few teachers who could be located, declined comment.
Source: New York State Education Department records
What to watch out for
Sexual abuse by word or by touch is “woefully understudied,” according to the U.S. Education Department report “Educator Sexual Misconduct: A Synthesis of Existing Literature.” But the 2004 report’s author, Hofstra University Professor Charol Shakeshift, said there are tips for school administrators, teachers, parents and students to watch for and ways to reduce instances of sexual misconduct by school employees:
Realize any school employee and volunteer can molest.
Educator sexual predators are often well-liked and consi-dered excellent teachers.
Special education students or other vulnerable students are often targets.
Coaches, music teachers and other adults who have access to students before or after school or in private situations are more likely to sexually abuse students.
Physical signs of abuse include difficulty walking or sitting, torn clothing, stained or bloodied underwear, pain or itching in the genital area, venereal disease, pregnancy, weight change.
Behavior in students who are abused could include inappropriate sexual behavior, late arrival to classes, changes in personality, increased time at school with one adult.
Rumors are an important source of information on educator sexual misconduct.
Behavior of adults who molest include close relationships with students, time spent alone with students, time spent before or after school with students, time spent in private spaces with students, flirting with students, off-color remarks in class.
Recommendations
The scant research in the field points to several recommendations. The report called for:
Two hours of focused training every year for every school employee, new and veteran, and for students to watch for signs of abuse and report even rumors promptly.
Better registries in states. A more comprehensive list of teachers implicated in sexual misconduct should be compiled to avoid teachers simply seeking new jobs, and new opportunities for abuse.
Create an electronic federal registry for sexual misconduct cases and to list teachers who had their certification and licenses suspended.
All states should adopt standard rules in handling sexual misconduct cases for any student, no matter the age, in any educational institution. All state laws should require school officials to report any alleged sexual misconduct and any suspension or resignation should be reported to state education departments.
More laws should protect school officials from lawsuits for giving accurate job references that include sexual misconduct cases. States’ personnel laws already protect former employers, but “additional laws will increase feelings of security.”
Source: Educator Sexual Misconduct: A Synthesis of Existing Literature, U.S. Education Department, 2004.



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Romulus

posted August 12, 2005 at 10:27 am


Since no one seems to have mentioned it yet, I hope it’s not too late to mention fasting. Among its other spiritual benefits, a life formed by fasting — not just compliance with Church law, but a whole-hearted embrace of self-denial, patient endurance of regular discomfort and sacrifice, and “poverty of spirit” in every sense — is vital in resisting temptation. Man is a creature of habit and he profits from discipline.
Msgr. Clark was too chubby, comfortable, and well-fed for his own good. When he discovered sweet propinquity, sumptuous meals, or a house on L.I. becoming occasions of sin, he ought to have fled them. Fasting proposes comfort as rare, transient, and abnormal, making it much harder to welcome luxury as no less than our due.



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Tom Kelty

posted August 12, 2005 at 10:42 am


He married this couple. The husband is an insurance investigator. As such he mast have known many well qualified private investigators and their surveillance potential. A 30 year relationship that seems to have followed an expectable path to the surprise of no one. Age 79 is no guarantee of immunity from the tugs of the flesh. Our capacity for self-deception and delusion does not end until 3 days after we die.
The Monsignor was raised and catechized in a church which in those days handled sex as though it were dynamite. Women were still churched. Any talk of sex was limited to the annual parish retreat for one night only and the men and women were addressed on separate nights. Read Studs Lonigan. My point? My point is that the total lack of adult discussion gave the whole issue an added aura of power and mystery, that adds to its attraction even in the late innings. Never forget Susanna and the Elders.
And do not believe for one minute that having a married clergy or ordaining women as priests will remedy this situation. People are people at all times.



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DarwinCatholic

posted August 12, 2005 at 12:19 pm


“I wonder if this is one of the pieces to the “what happened after Vatican II” puzzle. Perhaps while being very good at cranking out serminarians from an othrodox cookie cutter, we hadn’t done nearly enough to ensure that our priests (and laity) were actually living vibrant and prayerful lives as Christians.”
It seems strange to associate the post-V2 period with ‘cranking out seminarians from an orthodox cookie cutter’. Can you explain?

Dunno if anyone is still reading this thread, but I actually meant that perhaps pre-V2 we were good at book learning, but not always good at vibrancy. Of course, post-V2 we’ve been bad at book learning, and still bad at vibrancy… It’s not not that I think book-learned orthodoxy isn’t an important pre-requisite, just that it’s not all you need.



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Thurman

posted July 24, 2014 at 3:11 pm


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There is nothing I shall want
A couple of weeks ago, a memorial Mass for Michael was held here in Birmingham at the Cathedral. The bishop presided and offered a very nice, even charming homily in which he first focused on the Scripture readings of the day, and then turned to Michael, whom he remembered, among other things, as on

posted 9:24:16am Mar. 05, 2009 | read full post »

Revolutionary Road - Is it just me?
Why am I the only person I know..or even "know" in the Internet sense of "knowing"  - who didn't hate it? I didn't love it, either. There was a lot wrong with it. Weak characterization. Miscasting. Anvil-wielding mentally ill prophets.But here's the thing.Whether or not Yates' original novel in

posted 9:45:04pm Mar. 04, 2009 | read full post »

Books for Lent
No, I'm not going to ask you about your Lenten reading lists...although I might.Not today, though. This post is about giving books to others. For Lent, and a long time after that. You know how it goes during Lent: Prayer, Fasting and Almsgiving, right?Well, here's a worthy recipient for your hard-

posted 9:22:07pm Mar. 04, 2009 | read full post »

Why Via Media
How about....because I'm lame and hate thinking up titles to things? No?Okay...how about...St. Benedict? Yes, yes, I know the association with Anglicanism. That wasn't invovled in my purpose in naming the joint, but if draws some Googling Episcopalians, all the better.To tell the truth, you can bl

posted 8:54:17pm Mar. 04, 2009 | read full post »

Brave Heart?
I don't know about you, but one of effects of childbirth on me was a compulsion to spill the details. All of them.The whole thing was fascinating to me, so of course I assumed everyone else should be fascinated as well in the recounting of every minute of labor, describing the intensity of discomfor

posted 10:19:45pm Mar. 03, 2009 | read full post »




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