A Guest Document
A Response to Groeschel's Apology
Much has been written about Groeschel's unfortunate (for him, but fortunate for the world) statements in a National Catholic Register (NCR) interview which as pulled out by the NCR shortly after appearing on line. However, we deem the following article by Mr. Rastrelli, a former priest, the best and most encompassing article regarding this matter.
Therefore, we have chosen to republish it exactly as Mr. Rastrelli wrote it - links and all. The bold black and bold red highlights was done by the individual who made this article available to us. We have left the highlights as received since we believe that said passages needed to be highlighted. The link to the original article in the Huffington Post may be found at the end of Mr. Rastrelli's article.
by Tom Rastrelli (a former priest)
The National Catholic Register removed the interview from its website and posted an apology explaining the publication of Groeschel's "comment was an editorial mistake." In addition, the Register "sought clarification from Father Benedict," as if Groeschel's 468 word "comment" wasn't clear enough.
The Archdiocese of New York quickly condemned Groeschel's statements, acknowledging the harm that such comments cause victims of sexual abuse and offering "profound sympathy" and prayers to those hurt by Groeschel's words. Their communications director stated, "The Archdiocese of New York completely disassociates itself from these comments. They do not reflect our beliefs or our practice."
As I write this post, Father Groeschel is listed on the faculty of St. Joseph Seminary in the Archdiocese of New York, where he is entrusted with the task of teaching pastoral psychology to future priests. The website of Trinity Retreat House (also in the archdiocese) greets visitors with a letter penned by Groeschel. If their statement of disassociation had any merit, would they not fire Groeschel?
But before that might have happened, the
Friars of the Renewal responded to the Register's request for a "clarification." They
called Groeschel's statements "inappropriate and untrue ... He never intended to excuse abuse or
implicate the victims." They explained the illogic of his statements claiming medical
Groeschel's apology recycles the same excuse: "My mind and my way of expressing myself are not as clear as they used to be."
If this is the case, why was Groeschel interviewed at all? Why is he teaching at a seminary and providing services at a retreat house?
If he is so incapacitated, how was he able to attend the events on his public calendar, which reveals since mid-May he's spoken at nine different church events? Some recent engagements include the "Defending the Faith Conference" at Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio, and "Renewing the Priesthood: An Annual Conference for Diocesan Priests" in Louisville, Ky. "Sunday Night Prime with Father Benedict Groeschel" airs Sundays at 7 p.m. on the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN).
Groeschel's itinerary of professional engagements does not
paint the picture of someone who has been incapacitated by an accident that took place in 2004. It
reveals that Groeschel is a trusted voice of Catholic wisdom and leadership whose counsel is in
high demand. He's an industry.
Perhaps, the National Catholic Register, which is owned by EWTN, was told to pull the Groeschel interview. It would have been in the network's interest to protect its investment.
Fatherbenedict.com features more than 50 products, including books, audio CDs, and DVDs written by or featuring Groeschel. The Franciscan Friars of the Renewal have a financial stake in Groeschel. Saying the old man is out of his mind preserves Groeschel's reputation and lucrative legacy.
Some will no doubt say that I'm unjustly reading into things, that my questions are out of line and preposterous. Perhaps they are. Perhaps there is a simpler explanation for Father Groeschel's statements: He didn't misspeak. He told the truth as he sees it, as many Catholic bishops were inclined to see it before The Boston Globe blew open the sexual abuse scandal in 2002.
conclusion seems a flashback to the good old days of justifying the shuffling of abusive
This would explain Father Angel Perez of the Archdiocese of Portland who last month (dressed only in his underwear) failed to chase down the 12-year-old boy he'd plied with alcohol, fondled and photographed, before driving drunk to the victim's home to demand his parents' forgiveness. This might cast light on Archbishop John Vlazny's surprise at the outrage generated by his granting Perez an open-ended loan to pay for the best defense attorney Catholic funds can buy rather than letting a public defender represent Perez.
This might explain how Cardinal Dolan could lie about having paid hush money to pedophile priests and how Cardinal Egan recently rescinded the church's apology for the sexual-abuse scandal.
Groeschel's original conclusions make sense in a church where it took until 2011 for the Vatican to allow the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to apply the federal legal age of minority as under 18 when defining child pornography, rather than the Vatican's definition of minor as being under 14.
Or maybe it's just easier to blame statements such as those made by Father Benedict Groeschel on senility and misspeak.
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