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My Personal Story: Understanding Fr. Benedict Groeschel’s Comments

Before sharing my story, I must state emphatically that Fr. Benedict’s comments are unconscionable. Child sex-abuse victims are victims.  Period.  To excuse the culpability of an adult, much less a priest — indeed, to suggest the power, and thus blame, is in the hands of a child — is a catastrophic failure of perspective and judgment, exacerbated even further by the source being a respected Catholic priest having the highest academic degrees and experience in this arena.

I knew Fr. Benedict quite well, and share this as part of my own endeavor to grapple with this.

Prior to my current place in life as a husband and father of seven, I spent a number of years discerning a call to the priesthood.  Back in the early 90’s I was leading a North American evangelization outreach.  I knew more serious discernment of priesthood would require my stepping back and getting away from it all.  One of the first stops along that journey was by invitation of Fr. Benedict Groeschel.  As a Catholic “rock star” who had touched thousands through his books, retreats and multimedia- this was a special opportunity.

So, at the age of 22, and characteristic of my “all in” wiring — I gave away most of my possessions and resolved to do menial tasks as a “maintenance guy” around Trinity Retreat — which is the Spiritual Center of the Archdiocese of New York under Fr. Benedict’s direction. While there I would spend time praying and discerning.

I was truly blessed by my time with Fr. Benedict. We had frequent conversations over  meals, walks, and driving him to his frequent speaking engagements and retreats. 

This is an aside, but brief:

As a younger man, my love of fast driving resulted in forfeiture of my license — six months after getting it. Needless to say, a few years tempered me. So I arrive at Trinity Retreat, and Fr. Benedict asks me to drive him into New York City where he was giving a talk.  How would you drive someone having the reputation of a saint blended with a Gandalf-like sagacity, beard and habit included? I thought I’d keep everything within limit.  I guessed wrong. I noticed he was fidgety, and could not figure out why. In his distinctive, Jersey accent, he exhorted me: “Gregory… if you’re going to get us there, you’ve gotta put the pedal to the metal.”

Okay then. I dusted of a corner of my mid-adolescence and kicked it in, weaving in and out of crazy, NYC traffic. I resisted the temptation to accompany it all with a classic rock station at full blast. Wouldn’t you know it, I could tell his tension was gone. Within moments his seat was back and he was fast asleep!   That was just one of many wonderful, human storiesI could tell about that year.

Swinging back. I want to make it emphatically clear:  never once, in any way, did I ever even wonder of the possibility of moral impropriety from Fr. Benedict. Nor to this day. My many stories have one, common theme:  Fr. Benedict is a genuinely good, saintly man, a renaissance man, with an evident love and compassion for everyone.  He had genuine sensitivity, but had a Jersey “man’s man” quality about him. Fr. Benedict knew a multitude of people by name, and attended to the smallest need of the most “inconsequential” person.

It was perhaps a few weeks into my stay that I became more aware of Fr. Benedict’s “special” calling… a term used in the spiritual realm as one might speak of “Special” Forces in the physical realm.  While many priests and religious sought Fr. Benedict for “ordinary” spiritual direction, he was the recognized “go to” spiritual guide in helping those in “serious trouble.”  It was a kind of warfare for which Fr. Benedict was the spiritual Special Force. 

So here’s the hinge to understanding: Fr. Benedict was privy to the heart beyond the headlines.

As a trained psychologist within the Catholic tradition, he didn’t have the convenience the rest of us have of packaging up a person’s totality in a newspaper article; Fr. Benedict was charged to open a door and go in. He was charged to be a doctor to these souls.  His mission was to heal.  At the very heart, that meant a high degree of connection, empathy and love — of understanding what was going on in spiritual places most of us could only imagine.  To this end it seemed he was always in prayer, often with a heavy sense of anguish.

And so with today’s news about him, I can’t help but inquire: Which of us have not connected, loved, in a way that has made us sympathetic to a fuller, human realm of circumstances? 

Of course, sympathy and excuse are very distant shores. So please understand, in no way do I excuse his excusing priests, much less deferring blame to the victims.  I am shocked.  I’m merely endeavoring to understand.  And what I can vaguely perceive is that Fr. Benedict had privy to the inner sanctuary of very wounded souls; he came to understand their histories, what factored into their dispositions, what led to actions. In there, I can only imagine the ease with which objectivity is compromised- as he heard priests speak of seductive factors they perceived as emanating from the victims.

Fr. Benedict perhaps gave us insight into a realm most of us are blessed not to understand. But try. Isn’t it possible to imagine the likelihood of someone projecting their own concupiscent desire upon the object of their desire?  While very different in gravity, this is the same mechanism that drives much of the porn industry.  Porn is a culturally “acceptable” way one person uses another, driven entirely by a kind of seduction. Mainly men are “seduced” by the images.

Of course under all this is a key insight from Pope John Paul II, that the God-designed heart of the sexual urge is the urge to completion. Think about that. The “mechanism” knowingly utilized by the multibillion dollar advertising industry, sexual urge/seduction, preys upon a God-given capacity for completion in Him! Imagine the potential if our built-in compasses were rid of the magnetic disorientation and again pointed Due North?

At the end of the day, we all need to recognize the wound in our humanity — both the propensity to rationalize the use and victimization of others, but also our inclination to reduce people to the sum total of their mistakes.  How easily we put people in boxes, forgetting what that’s like when others do it to us. Fr. Benedict and his community retracted and apologized.  I know that is heartfelt and sincere. In the grand scheme of things, he has given nearly all. There will be many, many souls in heaven because of Fr. Benedict.

I am moved to humility, to recognize “but for the grace of God, so go I.” Let’s see this as an occasion to pray for all victims, priests, churches, community — indeed, for all of us who are working this salvation thing out — that we recognize our radical dependency on Jesus Christ at every moment and constantly seek to more fully embrace His transforming love and mercy.


Greg Schlueter is an award-winning Catholic film producer, writer, speaker and movement leader committed to building up Catholic family through their nonprofit, Image Trinity. Find out more at http://ImageTrinity.com. Greg lives with his wife and six children in Erie, Pennsylvania. 


  • Claire

    Father Groeschel is a wonderful person, and this situation is tragic. I have noticed a huge difference in his communication and processing skills ever since that awful car accident (where he sustained a head injury) several years ago. His survival was miraculous, and he has certainly had good things to say since then. But he has declined, and it was probably not a good idea to interview him about this topic. It is also probably not a great idea for him to continue hosting a prime time show on EWTN at this point. I am normally a fan of the NCR, but I am not impressed with how they handled this situation.

  • Tom Reynolds

    Greg’s article is excellent.

    Father Groeschel, we love you; we understand your current limits; we still love you.

  • Bert

    Maybe I missed something but when I read the article about Fr. Groschel’s interview, at no time did I think that he was somehow trying to blame the child in *any* of the child sex abuse cases. He simply said that *IN SOME CASES* a child will try to seduce an adult. That is not the same as claiming that the culpability lies with the child and not the adult. The culpability *ALWAYS* rests with the adult but if we ignore what he said, we will condemn many children to, at the very least, a difficult life. If, as Fr. Groschel suggests, children do try to seduce people (adults or other children) we have to ask ourselves why this is happening. A 12 year old (or younger :-() child should be playing games with his/her friends, not soliciting sex. I know that it isn’t PC to say that but the truth is the truth whether we like it or not. We need to find out why these increasingly younger and younger children are obsessed with sex and take steps to address it. Yes, any adult who responds to sexual advances by a child in a sexual manner has committed a crime and needs to be dealt with accordingly. But, the child also needs our help.

    Sexual advances by children are becoming more and more common. Just look at some of the stories about when teachers are charged with sexually exploiting a child. In many cases (no, NOT all) it is revealed that it was the child who initiated the affair. To be clear, THAT IN NO WAY IMPLIES THAT THE CHILD IS TO BLAME!! It does, however, suggest that there is a problem with children being introduced to sex at younger and younger ages. I wish we could just let children be children :-(

    Pardon me if I missed something in the original interview.

  • motherofmany

    When a long time friend opened up to me about his sexually abusive childhood, I was shocked. I never would have looked at his family as anything but above average in intelligence, education and sophistication. How they conducted themselves in their private lives was a completely different story. It is not just a story of sexual abuse, it is one of addictions,abortion, incest,rape,and promiscuity. It is a story of those, who act out upon others from an early age because their parents exposed them to this kind of behavior. When the full story came out about my friend’s seemingly upstanding family, I began to have an inkling of what these priests must take upon themselves in the confessional and in spiritual direction. I could begin to fathom their vulnerability and the real risks to their priestly chastity. There is always so much more to a story than the screaming headlines. Should priests be prosecuted for sexual abuse that is not only consensual but is the result of seduction on the part of a teen? Yes they should. Are teenagers or young adult men and women in *some* of these cases guilty of grave and sinful misconduct with priests? Yes. But their prior abuse is a mitigating factor in the gravity of this sin. The devil is like a chained beast. We should pray for our priests every day, because they are exposed to all kinds of terribly sinful behavior and occasions of sin. There *are* good priests that have fallen in this way that are humbled and capable of getting back up again like King David. I truly believe it was these priests that Fr. G. had assisted, and was speaking about.

  • http://www.schefter.org PrairieHawk

    Very good people can have a naivete about evil – the tendency not to call it for what it is because they have such confidence in God who has conquered evil. I think John Paul II may have been naive in this way, and Fr. Groeschel too. Innocence does not see evil, only good, and it takes an effort to remember that evil is at work in the world.

  • Bert

    Does anyone have a link to the interview? I have read articles about it on a few different websites but I cannot find a single one where Fr. Groschel actually blames the children. In every case I’ve read, it is the interpretation of the interviewer that he is blaming the child but he never actually says that. As far as I can tell, everything he says is true and is non-judgmental.

  • Bert

    Well, I can’t seem to find any articles outlining the original interview but there are a few covering Fr. Groschel’s retraction. Maybe I’m out to lunch but I don’t see where he said anything wrong. I will comment on things said in the retraction article and if anyone can show me where I might be wrong, I would appreciate his/her comments showing me my error(s).

    First, Fr. Groschel says:

    “”I did not intend to blame the victim. A priest (or anyone else) who abuses a minor is always wrong and is always responsible,” Groeschel said in his post on the website.”

    Exactly. He had no intention of blaming the victim. That was just a spin put on his words in the original interview by others. To the best of my knowledge, at no time did he say or even imply that any of the sexual abuse cases involving children – inside or outside the Church – were the child’s fault. Not once.

    He then explains his statement about Jerry Sandusky.

    “In expanding on his answer, Groeschel also referenced Jerry Sandusky, the former Penn State coach convicted of sexually abusing boys, referring to Sandusky as “this poor guy” and wondering why no one said anything for years.”

    I don’t know Mr. Sandusky but if he struggled with temptations that he knew were wrong (and, no, I don’t know if he was just a predator or if he was driven to do what he did and truly regretted his actions) does he not deserve our compassion? As Catholics, aren’t we called to have compassion for both the victim and the perpetrator? And, if Mr. Sandusky did struggle, is he not a “poor guy”? I know that in today’s culture of death, we are supposed to have no compassion whatsoever for people like Mr. Sandusky and we are expected to demand that he be strung from the yardarm but that is NOT what Jesus called us to do.

    Then comes the inevitable unCatholic CYA crap.

    “Editor in Chief Jeanette De Melo posted a note apologizing for “publishing without clarification or challenge Father Benedict Groeschel’s comments that seem to suggest that the child is somehow responsible for abuse. Nothing could be further from the truth. Our publication of that comment was an editorial mistake, for which we sincerely apologize.””

    At least Jeanette was accurate in that she said “… seem to suggest” which is only true if that is what you want his words to imply. Just like the spin doctors working the presidential campaign. Republicans are being called racist if they use words or phrases like “golf” or “kitchen cabinet”. It is a spin on Fr. Groschel’s comments.

    What I find truly disgusting, though, is the response from some official Catholic sources.

    “”Although he is not a priest of the Archdiocese of New York, what Father Groeschel said cannot be allowed to stand unchallenged. The sexual abuse of a minor is a crime, and whoever commits that crime deserves to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” spokesman Joseph Zwilling said.”

    And.

    “Deacon Bernard Nojadera, executive director of the Secretariat of Child and Youth Protection of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, said, “There is never a time when you can blame a minor who is sexually assaulted for the crime perpetrated upon him or her. The responsibility is always with the adult. Sexual abuse of a minor is abhorrent and indefensible. It is especially heinous when the abuse is perpetrated by a cleric.””

    I find these comments to be truly reprehensible. They are putting a spin on Fr. Groschel’s words and admonishing him based upon that spin. That is dishonest and is not something that I expect from those in authority in the Catholic Church. In short, they are lying. By stating or even implying that Fr. Groschel said that it is the child’s fault, they are misrepresenting what he said and they know it. All they are trying to do is to cover their own backsides. Truly and utterly disgusting. I am sure that Jesus is very disappointed in these people right now.

    Sorry for the length of the post but this really bothers me.

    • florin

      I agree with you. Everyone was quick to jump on Father Groeschel, this man who has done so much good for his fellow man and for the Church. How many who criticized him have done as much? I think I knew what he was trying to say but it all became so garbled that I knew he was having difficulty. Look at all he has been through – now he will suffer so much for having given scandal although he was not at fault. Look at the pattern of his life, his selfless service to the Church and to the poor, to the cause of life…and let him be!!! If anything, write to him and assure him that you are not scandaled by him because you know the virtue and goodness of his life and the difficulty he is having now communicating his thoughts…and pray that he may not suffer because of his regret…let him know that we understand he is human and broken because of his accident, but that we see through to his soul and his goodness and will always honor and respect him and always be grateful for the good he has done and for the good and holy man of God that he is.

  • Nondignus

    What we all miss about Fr. Groschel is that through his unfortunate accident in Orlando where he was thrown 90 ft in the air landing on his head and shoulders he suffered severe trauma to both body and brain. Additionally, Fr. G stated that he suffered a fall–again hitting his head–the day before the NCR interview. This saintly man is near 80 and he really needs to assess whether he should be doing interviews where “off the cuff” remarks can be cherry picked by major media, bloggers and tweeters and make him look like a defender of certain kinds of sexual abuse..
    Perhaps the Ordinary to whom he reports needs to request that Father G refrain from public interviews.
    Perhaps he needs to be more silent now and spend his final years listening for divine guidance.

  • Bert

    I received an email saying that I missed an important comment by Fr. Groschel. The comment was:

    “”People have this picture in their minds of a person planning to — a psychopath. But that’s not the case. Suppose you have a man having a nervous breakdown, and a youngster comes after him. A lot of the cases, the youngster — 14, 16, 18 — is the seducer,” Groeschel was quoted as saying in the interview, which is no longer available on the paper’s website.”

    The only real problem I find with that comment is that Fr. Groschel says “A lot of cases”. I personally have no idea how many times a child (I really don’t consider an 18 year old to be a child, but whatever) tries to seduce an adult so I don’t know if “a lot” is out of line or not but I suspect that it is. Regardless, doesn’t that mean that we have a problem, though? Why are 14 year olds trying to seduce adults? Am I the only one who thinks that there is an issue here? Isn’t that what we should be focusing on?

    • http://ImageTrinity.com Greg Schlueter

      Bert,

      Read my comments. The emphatic statement in my first paragraph (and other’s challenges) corresponds to that statement alone we need to stand by (clearly understood by the NCRegister, and implicated by Fr. Benedict’s retraction)- namely, an EXCUSE given for pedophilia – a DISPLACEMENT of POWER….

      Let’s assume a priest (etc.) is in a moment of “weakness” – and there does exist even one, super precocious, sexually savvy kid who “works it” (in truth, I can’t even get there– I have to say, “Really? What does that look like? Are there not “steps” leading up to action that a normal human being, much less a priest trained in the arena of holy habit would disallow? Are we so naive as to near-completely disregard complicity from an adult even IF this were the situation? What are implications here for Catholic moral teaching, much less law?)… this just seems to me, and most people rightly preposterous. Add to this “a lot of” – that means such situations should be somewhat evident to us.

      Language must be strong: we run the risk of a catastrophically perverted vision of Catholicity that’s out-of-touch, in-the-box… versus the basis of good laws that admit statutory rape.

      Per my reflection – call it “nervous breakdown” or whatever – we must agree it is concupiscence, that adults – much less priests – out to be regarded as having greater power, in positions the “system” ought to monitor (i.e., if such a priest is SO lacking in vision and habit, so vulnerable – such ought to be recognized, and they ought to be removed from any context per their weakness… period!).

      It’s ironic that this discussion, in my opinion, evidences the kind of “blind spot” thinking incumbent upon love, deep compassion… but such can only find it’s full integrity in truth. Fr. Benedict’s apology (and that of his community) admit as much. My point is – but for the grace of God so go we – God made us weak so we would seek, so we would be radically dependent upon Him. As Fr. Benedict shared with me in those years, “Gregory, the Church is a hospital for sinners…”. If we can not admit this, we have no need for a Savior. In this episode we are given just such an occasion to worship Jesus, to see a great leader in an understandable season of challenge, pointing us toward that one and only Savior.

      Jesus, be Lord over it… and us… all.

  • SJSchloeder

    Fr Benedict’s characteristic humility and charity led him to fall on his sword against the inflammatory and uncharitable accusations coming from both the left and the right. (And Schlueter’s article is no exception).

    It is simple enough to realize that beginning a screed with ” I must state emphatically that Fr. Benedict’s comments are unconscionable.” should give one pause to realize that his interpretation CAN NOT reasonably inferred to accurately ascertain what Fr. Benedict was getting at or what he holds about these matters.

    But rather than really seeking understanding, all we read is self righteous condemnation and judgment, under the thin veneer of pity for a doddering and confused old man.

  • florin

    Sept. 2nd: Fr. Groeschel has been having a hard time making himself understood since his accident and when I read his remarks, I knew he was having a hard time expressing himself coherently. We who know and love Fr. Groeschel understood this immediately. When Fr. Groeschel was made to see how he came across, he was immediately sorry and I’m sure he is suffering greatly because of the way he communicated so badly. He will suffer in his soul as he realizes this so please pray for him. It is not that he is naive, it is that he is impaired and his community should now surround him with love and support more than ever. As far as Pope John Paul and Fr. Groeschel being deceived by evil…we must remember that satan often appears as an angel of good and is very good at deception. We need to pray for ourselves and all who stand with and for Christ that the Lord will guide them and protect them against all evil, and may we all be patient with those who have served us and the Church so well when they become too impaired to serve any longer, except in their suffering, as our beloved Pope John Paul did and as Fr. Groeschel does.

  • retiredafcol

    Just before his accident Father Benedict spoke at a retreat we were at in Paso Robles in a huge dirt floored armory. He gave three wonderful talks, and his last one was on Corpus Christi. He eloquently bemoned the fact that the feast day wasn’t celebrated like it used to be with processions, etc.

    After speaking he had to leave for another engagement and was driven to the airport, where he boarded the plane to Florida. We then had Mass and it was followed by a beautiful procession through the whole place with beautiful children strewing petals before Jesus.

    We all commented that it was a shame that Father couldn’t stay for those festivities. The retreat wrapped up afterward and as we were driving up to Oakland to board our plane back East we heard the news of Father’s accident in Florida.

    I agree with some of the other posters that he hasn’t been the same ever since. However, I think it is deplorable that so many Catholic commentators immediately piled on condeming him. You would think, that with his well deserved reputation, they would have carefully examined the whole incident and made some attempt to make sence of it, as several competent commentators have since.

  • Bert

    I went back and reread your article a couple of times, Greg, and my position hasn’t changed. Your statement:

    “Of course, sympathy and excuse are very distant shores. So please understand, in no way do I excuse his excusing priests, much less deferring blame to the victims. I am shocked.”

    Is just flat out wrong. At no time that I can see did Fr. Groschel either excuse any priests (or non-priests) for abusing children or blame any children for the abuse. Children do try to seduce adults but if an adult responds in kind, it is still the adult’s fault that the sexual encounter occurred. Kids do stupid things. That’s why our legal system treats children and adults differently. Teenagers, in particular, have been doing spectacularly stupid things since time began. Some have even postulated that puberty is the time when God takes a person’s brain away from them and adulthood is when He gives it back. So, as adults, we are responsible for making sure that if a teenager does something stupid like try to seduce us, we react with love and compassion, not sexual lust. It is up to us to help that teenager to understand that what s/he is doing is wrong and help him/her to not do it again in the future. Fr. Groschel was simply trying to point that out and he got nailed to the wall for telling a simple truth.

    • rightoffthecliff

      ok…i’ve read enough of this drivel… enough long winded, convoluted apologies for this man. i’m reminded of essays i did in high school..lots of filler words so as to baffle ‘em with bs…. the only “truth” about goeschel is that he is endemic of a sick culture among the clergy ( and apparently lay people as well) that goes to any lengths to obfuscate, rationalize, and otherwise excuse sick, criminal behavior. either most of the writers here are too close to the problem or as twisted as the man they are defending. i’m going to take a shower now..i feel the need to cleanse myself.

  • flyfisher

    As a researcher in a controversial BBC Documentary on a US Naval event, I know first-hand the amount of excruciating, mind boggling editing that takes place before a producer achieves their direction that corroborates their stories goal. Having not seen the interview or read the entire transcript I do think judgment should be tempered and reserved.

    Having stated this, it is with great difficulty, even (as one poster stated) ‘Preposterous’ for reasonable people to believe that ‘a lot of times’ the teen is the seducer.
    I can not conjuror up even ONE instance in my Catholic education or any social interfacing with friends of knowing or hearing of a student expressing interest in seducing a Priest.

    Also, not in the favor of the Friar’s defense is that this was a NON CONFRONTATIONAL interview. It does not seem to me that the interviewer was trying to stumble the Friar or set him up for the controversy that followed. This makes me seriously question the deep root of where this implausible excuse about teen seduction originates within the Friar.

    Not to be calloused, but the head-trauma from the automobile accident certainly was not cited as a problem for the Friar’s performance before his controversial statements.

    Second, as any professional polygraph technicians will attest, when a person is cornered in a fundamentally defensive position where the FACTS are not his ally, it is (in some cases) a normal response to take tact of convincing the questioner of his or her morality. Sadly pedophiles like Sandusky are intelligent and convince themselves and try to convince even a jury that their relationships with Children is mutually accepted when in almost every case the cold hard reality is that the seduction and threats of exposure originate with the Pedophile. So, the Friar being the least bit empathetic toward a convicted Pedophile speaks volumes of where his heart is on this subject.

    Greg Schuleter’s article implies that the Friar has a deeper level of forgiveness for sinners and a better understanding than most. That inference is not just deceptive but I would think a slap in the face to the honest Priests and Friar’s who still stand tall and beyond reproach after the sexual scandal that has plagued the Church.

    This effort to produce ‘The Halo’ effect’ on the Friar’s behalf and sound off as indignant under questioning is simply evasive and often originates from a lie of omission. Friar Groeschel knows much about the subject of abuse and abusers and clearly expressed, without remorse, empathy toward the plight of the abuser.

    The deceptive ‘Halo defense’ attempts to cover up the fact that the Church has failed to purge the remnants of this sad identifying mark; that Clergy have the unquestionable right to emotionally and physically dominate it’s youth.

    Finally, History. With the Churches level of judgments in sexual abuse cases to exceed 3 Billion dollars by the end of this year, ( $3,000,000,000.) it is appropriate that we question with suspicion this paradoxical image that Friar Groeschael reflects which states clearly: YES, a kind gentle soul like Fr. Groeschel can hold the twisted beliefs that Wolves can be victims and it is OK to heap guilt on the innocent sheep.

    Sadly in relation to this entire event I am reminded of the scripture at St. Mathew, chapter 7 verses 21 thru 23.

    • Bert

      Flyfisher,

      That was a very good post and you have some very valid points. However, I think that you may be assuming too much (and I may be as well). The fact is, though, that Fr. Groschel has been the “go-to” priest for many people – priests or otherwise. So, there is no way that we can possibly know how many people sought his assistance to deal with either their own temptations toward children or on how to deal with a child who seems to be seeking to take their relationship to the “next level”. For that matter, we don’t know how many child sexual abuse incidents did *NOT* happen because of Fr. Groschel’s influence.

      More specific to this story, though, as a psychologist, I suspect that Fr. Groschel saw and heard many things that the rest of us will most likely never hear or see in our entire lives. He would be the one that many of these cases would be revealed to so he would be in a much better position that any of us to understand the circumstances surrounding any actual or circumvented instance of child abuse. Therefore, if he or any other psychologist working in this area says that in some cases, the child is the seducer and not the adult, I am inclined to accept that.

      Now that I think about it, there was a movie not that long ago that was, I believe, based upon a true story. In it, a young lady suffered from a psychological affliction which caused her to believe that the only way she could show her affection for someone was to have sex with them. She met this Catholic Priest and most of the movie centered on her attempts to seduce him and his attempts to resist and to help her. I didn’t see the movie, and I just did a quick google search to find the name of it but failed (I’m sure it exists – if anyone knows the name of the movie, I would appreciate them posting it because I would like to see it), but it is a perfect example of what Fr. Groschel was talking about.

      I guess I just don’t understand why people have such a difficult time accepting what Fr. Groschel said is factual without having to put a spin on it. The words I read did not, in my mind, lead me to believe that Fr. Groschel was trying to blame the children or excuse the adults. He simply made a statement that he claimed to be fact and left it at that. Either he was right or he was wrong. In cases like this, I fully expect all of the unchristian, anti-Catholic people out there to jump on what he said and twist it into some satanic garbage, but I don’t expect reasonable people to do that.

    • Claire

      True, this is the first time since the accident that Father Groeschel has made offensive comments. However, his communication struggles were evident right after his accident, and have gotten progressively worse. He appears to have difficulty retrieving words, processing things, and expressing himself. And, someone mentioned that he had a fall the day of this interview.

  • flyfisher

    Bert,
    I appreceiate your reply. I think we need healthy debate and not ‘thrust and parry’ so forgive me If this seems defensive, I assure you it is not. However, Yes, I think you may project too much on the Friar’s counciling sessions. I would like to believe that the Friar DID stop possible abusers from reaching the next level. If there are those out there with that as a fact, they should speak up, because, Sir, the converse of your assumption could also be true;
    I ask you: How many Priests left his understanding and leniant council with the thought that ‘well this relationship with a young man that adores me might be OK…’ Could he not, with your logic also have SANCTIONED improper relations with Minors?

    I’ve spent hours reading the interview since my last post from several sources~ at least where it hasn’t been removed…and it is very difficult for me as a researcher and a Father to look at each sentance and give the Friar the benefit of doupt of possibly not choosing his words carefully.
    One sentance that flew under the headlines radar that I find particularly disturbing is: “..there are the relatively rare cases where a priest is involved in a homosexual way with a minor….a secular psychology review was about 2%.”
    Bert, please tell me how we reached the point of $3Billion dollars in Judicial fines against the Church with the way the Friar characterizes this Homosexual relationships as such a rare event?

    To stay on the positive, I would humbly suggest that we do NOT rest on our laurels as followers of the Christ. Instead we should ask our bishops and cardinals to publicly renounce any support of Pedophilia with absolute ZERO tolerance and transparent changes in how OUR clergy interact with children.

    In a case like this it is most difficult, but is it REASONABLE? Yes.

    I equate it to my back-country First Aid kit. Built for life threatening Emergencies in wilderness areas where I travel. For cuts that can cause infection before reaching civilization I dont use Hydrogen Peroxide or even Alcohol. My MD friend advised me to use Iodine Tincture. It STINGS, it HURTS, but it will stop the infection.
    We need to rid the infection and stop it, and this long festering wound is beyond a little Hydrogen Peroxide.

    Finally to all the Friar’s defenders; will we ever learn? Look at Penn State.
    Noone that shepards children, coaches or Priest are above the law of the United States. A first-time child sexual abuser ABSOLUTELY should go to jail.

    Does it sting? Yes it does.
    respectfully,
    JJ

    • Bert

      Flyfisher,

      I will try to address your comments in the order you presented them:

      I don’t think that Fr. Groeschel was lenient at all with anyone who sought his guidance. Of course, I can’t know for certain but the little I do know about the man tells me that he would be very specific about the do’s and don’t’s. I think that it is a long jump to get from “sometimes, it is the child who seduces the adult” to “it is OK to have a sexual encounter with a child if s/he initiates it”. The second one does not flow from the first. To me, acknowledging the first one is important if it is happening because of 2 reasons: 1) how you assist an adult who is being seduced by children is different, I would assume, than how you would help an adult who has a professed desire to molest a child. The two are totally different and the approach has to be very different; and 2) how you help a child at risk of being molested is also going to be different depending on whether the child is attempting to initiate the sexual contact or not. I’m not a psychologist, but that seems to make sense to me.

      When I read the “2%” line, I thought that he was being overly generous but I really didn’t know what population he was referring to. The number I keep seeing popping up is 1% – 1.5%; that refers to all of the priests who have ever served in the US (possibly North America). I don’t know where the $3B came from or what it represents (US or worldwide?) but I suspect that the data is available if one wanted to dig for it. This is the first time, I think, that I have seen that number. I honestly don’t know what the fines or whatever have been on a per incident basis. At $3B, that would put the incidents in the 1000’s which sounds high to me, but I could be wrong.

      I know that I am just a guilty as the next guy when it comes to knee jerk reactions to things that are important to me and I have become overly sensitive to ridicule levied at the Catholic Church over the last decade or so. This thread is fairly benign, but some of the comments have been, in my opinion, totally off the wall. Some people have accused Fr. Groeschel of claiming that **EVERY SINGLE** case of child sex abuse involving priests has been the fault of the children. I expect such drivel in any story referring to the Church but when I see other people claiming things that I just can’t get to, I have to speak up. Is it possible that Fr. Groeschel meant what you suggest? I suppose so, but I just can’t get there. Neither the actual statements made by him nor what I know about him as a man suggests to me even slightly that he may have intended that interpretation. Just look as his apology: all he said was that he didn’t intend to cause such a ruckus. He didn’t admit that he meant what he is accused of having said.

      I read an article written by a psychologist that suggested that first time child molesters should not necessarily do any jail time. I wish I could find it again. If I can, I will post what it says.

  • flyfisher

    Bert,
    You make some good points for consideration. I only firmly take exception with anyone who continues to except as fact that a child can be the seducer MUCH of the time.
    In late teen years possibly, but as a Father, as a person with a degree in Education and a sister who is a long time professor, I am not familiar with ANY cases where young teens or youth are the seducers.
    This point is in fact the major ‘tar baby’ that the Friar kicked. Just scan the various editorials on the subject. Is it possible? certainly, but making the child the seducer is a shakey soap-box to put your entire weight on, especially as a CATHOLIC PRIEST.
    With regards to the monetary amount (talk about something hard to get your head around)… you don’t have to dig far. I found years ago that the site: bishop-accountability.org keeps the list of judgements for molestation damages against the Church. Currently US judgements do EXCEED 3Billion dollars. Something to meditate on as the collection basket is passed!
    Thanks for your comments. I certainly am not a rabid hater of anyone and I feel sorry for the Friar.
    However, the article you mentioned about a Psychologist suggesting first time sex offenders should not serve time is of no interest to me.
    I’d ask anyone who supports this notion flatly, how about if it were YOUR child?
    Frankly after long visits to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, I think any Pedophile should feel lucky to face a US court. I’ve been to Dharaan and Jeddah and Riyahd where first time convicted offenders are beheaded.
    Good Day,
    JJ

    • Bert

      JJ,

      The problem with the terminology used is that it is very imprecise. I believe that the term Fr. Groeschel used to describe the number of cases where the child tried to seduce the adult was “lots”. But, what does “lots” mean? Is he referring to absolute numbers or a percentage of cases? If we use the numbers from the website, you mentioned, there are approximately 15,000 claims. If we say, for example, that 1% of those cases were child initiated (this is just an example for discussion sake), is that “lots”? Usually 1% would not be considered “lots”. However, when you consider that that 1% represents 150 children, it looks like “lots” to me. Add to that the fact that there have, presumably, been many more unsuccessful episodes of a child trying to seduce an adult than successful ones and the number jumps even higher – probably multiple factors higher. We only hear of the cases where sexual contact actually occurred. Fr. Groeschel, in his capacity as a psychologist, has undoubtedly heard of many times that number and, I suspect has been instrumental in ensuring that many incidents did not progress to that point.

      I should take a moment here and explain a bit about where I am coming from as well. I am not a psychologist or social worker so I am not involved in this stuff on a day to day basis. But, a few years ago, my wife and I decided we would like to adopt a child. In order to do that, we were required to go through an orientation class. This class is not designed to teach psychologists or social workers how to do their jobs but is directed at potential adoptive parents and teaches them what kind of children are available for adoption and how to deal with a child who has been subjected to certain things. For example, it is not unusual for a toddler who suffers abandonment issues to climb into the lap of a perfect stranger looking to get a cuddle. Obviously, you would not expect a “normal” toddler to do that and it is potentially quite a dangerous thing for a child to do. This course teaches you about things like that so you can, as a parent, take appropriate steps to protect the child.

      Sex abuse, though, is a bit different. How a child reacts to it depends to a great extent on the specifics of the case. If there was violence involved, the child is likely to be quite traumatized, sometime to the point that s/he cannot be placed in a home with an adult or even a teenager of the same sex as the perpetrator. If there was no violence involved, though, it gets a little more complicated. The child can learn to prostitute themselves – not publicly, but they can offer sexual favors in return for something they want. After all, they reason, it has worked in the past so why not now?

      This is the kind of thing that I suspect that Fr. Groeschel was referring to. The problem with discussions like this is that we tend to see, in our mind’s eye, “normal” children who have not been subjected to the kind of abuse I just referred to and we expect them to behave in a certain way. If that was the case, I would agree with you and I would have a difficult time accepting that a child would try to seduce an adult under any circumstances. However, when you have children who have been subjected to this kind of abuse already, you have to throw the rule book out. Think about it: a 3 year old should have absolutely no knowledge of sexual behaviors. So, when someone does sexually abuse a 3 year old, they are introducing that child to something that s/he is not prepared for. They lack the maturity to decide for themselves what sex is and where is fits in their lives. A child that young is a very concrete thinker who lacks the ability to place things in context. So, to them, sex becomes, well, just sex. It’s just another activity to be performed. No moral or ethical implications because a child that young doesn’t understand the concepts of morality or ethics. So, to them, seducing an adult is no big deal since they really have no reference point. They don’t understand that it is wrong because they don’t know what wrong is. And, by extension, if it is OK in their mind to try to seduce an adult, it is equally OK, again in their mind, for the adult to respond in kind.

      Sorry for the rambling…

      • Mary Kochan

        Bert, I think even Fr. Groeschel specified teenagers when he was talking about “seduction” — you are talkig about a three-year-old. That is the length to which you are going to defend him. Seriously? You know what we call an adult who would look at a three year old who was acting seductively and find it seductive, as opposed to bizarre?

        • Bert_1

          What I have been saying is not that Fr. Groeschel was talking about 3 year olds but that if a 3 year old is sexually abused, s/he will carry that unnatural understanding of sex into their teen and even adult years. So, just as others have posted, it is not unheard of for a child (teenager or not) to be the one who tries to seduce the other person. That does NOT in any way transfer the responsibility for the sexual encounter, should one occur, to the child. Fr. Groeschel was right.

        • Bert_1
  • goral

    Considering that Fr. Groeshel is in his 80’s, after a traumatic accident, and with lifelong exposure to sins of all kinds, one slip-up in an interview is not bad.
    All of us should do so well.
    There are people out there, Catholics included, who want to fry the Friar. They’re ready to say: “go to hell, Groeshel!”
    He told the audience at a Catholic Conference that I attended, that those very words were hurled at him.

    The religious know that the devil has them, particularly, in his sights. Most of the time they get no help from the so called faithful and little help from their superiors.

    I appreciate Bert defending that which is worthy of defense.
    Flyfisher, who “spent hours reading the interview” came up with the following, possible, conclusion:

    “I ask you: How many Priests left his understanding and leniant council with the thought that ‘well this relationship with a young man that adores me might be OK…’ Could he not, with your logic also have SANCTIONED improper relations with Minors?”

    Yes, some do want to fry the Friar.

  • flyfisher

    Bert,
    I follow your reasoning, but the point is mute. The 1% is speculative, I understand that. When I next respond I’ll have spoke with a friends daughter who has a Phd in clinical Psycology and my wife reminds me has been working for years with convicted molestors in another state. Hopefully I’ll have some realistic numbers and insight from a professional with ‘boots on the ground’. I hope I can copy her answer to my questions soon.
    I suspect the percentage of these incidents where ANY guilt lays on a child is tough to record but my guess there will be some Zero’s and a decimal point in front of the ‘speculative’One percent. As most everyone has stated including Greg Schlueter, this in NO WAY excuses ANY adult actions.
    All of this ‘side tracking’ on the remote possibilities of children being culpable simply detracts from what the public perceives from this interview, and sadly (and I mean that) sadly it’s in Black & White and quite ugly. I personally wouldn’t want to be identifyed with the point of view that the victims are guilty and it’s obvious from the good Friar’s retraction and apology, he regrets it as well.
    Kind regards,
    JJ

    • Mary Kochan

      Yes, “what the public perceives from this interview” is “in Black & White and quite ugly” — and that is the crux of the problem. None of us can pretend he is talking into the mild air that will sweetly scent whatever he says with the best possible construction and motive and excuses. Away with such frivolous naïveté. We speak into the ear of the public. Our friends may be among tham in small numbers, but most are warily indifferent, while another good number are resentful, suspicious, and ready to put the worst possible construction on ambiguity. We have to be crystal clear. If one is incapable of that, he should be quiet. And if he is or becomes incapable of realizing that he is not clear, then wiser heads around him ought to prevail and certainly not give him a public platform.

      • Claire

        Exactly, Mary. That’s what I was getting at. That someone should have intervened to remove him from the public platform as his communication skills diminished. While it might have seemed charitable to keep him in the forefront, it ultimately did him no favors. Now his long career is ending on a very unfortunate note, after all the good he has done over the years.

    • Bert

      I guess I should reiterate my position then: Regardless of who initiates the sexual contact, the child is **NEVER** the guilty party. Precisely why Fr. Groeschel pointed out that sometimes the child tries to seduce the adult, I don’t know. Some believe that he was trying to excuse the perpetrator (Priest or not) but I don’t think so. I have a feeling (and it is just a feeling) that Fr. Groeschel was simply trying to point out the kind of environment some people work in. But, just as you can’t get out of a DUI by claiming that you were drunk at the time, if you feel that there is even the remotest chance that you may respond to a child’s sexual advances, you should remove yourself from any situation where such advances are a possibility BEFORE they occur.

      Most of my posts on this subject were just trying to explain that what Fr. Groeschel said was true. Children of all ages have been known to try to seduce adults. But, I have never said that it was OK or acceptable in any way for the adult to respond sexually to those advances. It isn’t.

  • http://ImageTrinity.com Greg Schlueter

    I do not think anyone is disputing Fr. Benedict’s central statement, that he made it and that he meant it: “a lot of times… children are the seducers.”

    At stake is something greater than someone’s reputation, but the larger concern of Catholic vision in Jesus Christ – very foundation of Catholic moral teaching – which holds high the capacity for freedom and will conformed to the good, the basis for our responsibility.

    While there are mitigating factors which may reduce freedom and will (Fr. Benedict mentions “nervous breakdown”), we are always, ultimately responsible.

    Clearly in context, Fr. Benedict speaks of “seducer” in a way to diminish, if not excuse, an adult/ priests actions.

    We know the world has a diminished view of human freedom and will (“adolescents– just give them contraceptives… they’re going to do it anyways” “I had an affair because I fell out of love”), but is this the full TRUTH of the human person, to which the Catholic Church has been the herald and custodian?

    THIS is what is ultimately at stake!

    “Seducer” is used in a way as to imply one-sided power- other-sided victimization… and at that, a power in the hands of the child… and at that, “a lot of times.”

    Clearly, within the framework of Catholic moral teaching, a completed act of “seduction” means not only an endeavor of purported seduction, but on the other end, one ALLOWING himself to be seduced. Thus, to say children “are the seducers” is, necessarily at the same time, saying adults/priest was complicit… allowed it.

    If we can rightly presume, as canon and civil law do, that adults have the greater power over children – both physically, maturity, authority – validated even more by a priest who has been formed / confirmed through MANY years of discernment… then it is truly preposterous to suggest even one, much less “a lot of” cases, in which a priest is in any way at the mercy of a child.

    If we accept “a lot of times… _______ is the seducer” to mean a kind of helplessness on the part of the victim, what a range of moral impropriety we give license to! Between teachers and students… extramarital affairs… and we have nothing to say!

    What’s at stake is a very impoverished vision of humanity… a loss of the meaning of Christian adulthood as a capacity for self-mastery… for right exercise of power… for the dominion of Jesus Christ. Our concupiscent weaknesses and inclinations do not excuse us from knowing and acting in the truth in accord with our nature! (particularly those of us FORMED by this truth!). To suggest otherwise is to ennoble a dangerous, pornographic moral view… which must be exposed and challenged.

    So at the end of the day, I have the greatest love and respect for Fr. Benedict, I do believe his comments lacked the discretion of earlier years – I do believe they reveal something of the empathy he has had as a Special Force in this battle– which few of us could ever understand… and I believe our greatest interest ought to be a humble recognition that we are all fallen, all vulnerable… impelling a radical dependency upon Jesus Christ and His transforming mercy and love.

    • Bert

      Greg,

      I’m not sure how to respond to this post. First, you say that the seducer has power over the object of his/her lust which I don’t believe is true – at least not because of the attempted seduction. Then you comment about a person ALLOWING him/herself to be seduced. That part is true. If I try to seduce a woman, that action gives me no power over her. Conversely, if a woman tried to seduce me, her actions give her no power over me. The power rests in the hands of the person being seduced.

      I know that this is a Catholic site and the interview in question involved a Catholic Priest, but this goes far beyond the walls of the Church. Everything said in this thread about Priests can also be applied to teachers, doctors, sports coaches, Scout leaders or anyone from any group involved with children. This problem pervades every corner of our society. But, regardless of what walk of life the adult is, the decision to proceed or not with a sexual encounter involving a child rests always with the adult regardless of who initiated the process. I suspect that Fr. Groeschel was simply trying to explain that, as Catholics, we are expected to have compassion on both the victim and the perpetrator. The fact that the child may initiate the process can help us to understand why and adult did what s/he did. But, claiming that a person is not guilty of a sin because s/he was tempted is flat out wrong. You cannot escape the fact that if an adult engages in any sexual activity with a child, s/he has committed both a sin and a crime. As St. Thomas Aquinas said “There but for the grace of God go I”.

  • http://www.facebook.com/kathleen.turner.395 Kathleen Turner

    I have read all the comments posted on this site. I am horrified by what I have read. I was sexually molested as a child. It affected me in a profound way–spiritually more than anything. I sought Fr. Groeschel guidance. Hearing his latest comments feels like a personal betrayal. Why can’t he have compassion for the perpetrators without having to imply that the victims were to blame or that it couldn’t have been that bad if they kept silent for many years? I have lived for over 50 years in unimaginable pain caused by a sexual predator who told me to go ahead and tell because he knew that no one would ever believe me..With church leaders like Fr. Groeschel speaking like he did and people on this site making excuses for him–people like me will never be believed or supported in the way that we deserve to be. Fr. Groeschel added insult to injury and those of you who can’t see that are just blind and deaf to the facts.

    • Mary Kochan

      Hear! Hear!

    • Rachel

      God bless you, Kathleen. I, too, am a survivor: of incest, of sexual abuse by a priest, and of sexual abuse by my best friend’s father and a couple of my parents’ friends. Father Groeschel didn’t and would not blame the victim. Do not let Satan put that into you. Father, the Church, and many, many priests and lay counselors will in every way remind you whenever Satan tempts you, that it was not your fault. It wasn’t. I am sure I was a seductive little girl. I learned to please men. I never, never wanted sexual contact from an adult. I did not connct the two and was shocked and terrified when men responded that way. Other times, they made advances when I wasn’t doing anything seductive. By seductive, I mean flirty smiles. I can see it now, but I didn’t then, and for years before my healing was complete, as complete as it can even be, I could not have stood it if anyone had suggested that I was flirty or seductive. Becaus3e down deep I always balmed myself. When I could finally fully understand that IT WAS NOT MY FAULT, then I could eventually consider that I might have been flirty. I thought I was just smiling like my daddy told me to. I suffered for years because of the incest in particular, and therapists and priests have helped me and the Lord has healed me. I am happily married. Satan still tries to tempt me to blame myself, but no one has ever blamed me. And Father Groeschel would be the very last to blame me or you or any of the boys or young men who were abused. Don’t let Satan let you believe otherwise. Father Groeschel said in that interview that the priest was responsible and to blame, not the child or young person. The media chose not to report that or to understand how difficult it is now for Father to express his thoughts. What’s important here is that y ou do not allow Satan to fling you back into hurt, pain, self-doubt, anger or rage. Let the Lord heal you and cover you with his love and comfort. Let Him give you peace. It is possible. I am here to assure you of that. God bless you.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003031365265 Judith E Moody

    Father Benedict Groeschel is well-described by Mr. Schlueter as a remarkable priest with a life of huge contributions and personal sanctity. I would have liked his mention of Father Benedict’s poor health, exhaustion and injuries. His head trauma in an auto accident has increasingly aggravated his physical and mental acuity. I do not think for a minute Father Benedict ever thought what he said in this fogged state was true! It sounds exactly like words of rationalization coming over and over from the errant priests he counselled! There may have been other physical causes. I have seen this erratic speech in TIA and stroke patients. Let us not contribute to Father’s suffering by maligning his involuntary words! His life, and he, do not deserve any condemnation. Caritas Christi Urget Nos.

    • Mary Kochan

      So did the interviewer and the publisher of it have traumatic brain damage also? What’s their excuse?

  • Rachel

    Thank you for the respectful and loving insight to Father Groeschel, whom my husband and I have loved for years. My husband is has counseled couples, individuals, and even pedophiles. First of all, as I understand it, Father Groeschel made it clear that the adult is always responsible. Now, I will say that my husband confirms that it certainly happens that the child acts in a seductive manner. Yet, the adult, seeing that, remains the responsible party. Period. The child probably is acting in a way that he/she has been taught to act in order to get approval. The child (and now I am speaking as one who was the victim of incest as a child), the child does not WANT this behavior to lead to sexual activity. The child does not connect the two. The child is merely trying to get approval. The adult is always responsible and cannot respond to the seductive behavior. Father Groeschel was making that point in a roundabout disconnected way, as anyone who has watched his programs over the last year can attest, has become Father’s way of talking. He loses threads of thought and gets lost in the past. I pray God’s greatest comfort on this wonderful priest was has been the love and mercy of God for many, many people.

    • Bert_1

      Thank you, Rachel. That is what I have been trying to say for a while now.

  • http://www.facebook.com/susan.tepper.96 Susan Tepper

    Fr. Groeschel has spent his life in service to the poor, while at the same time probing the complex depths of the human mind and spirit. A priest who is also a trained psychologist, and deeply commited to both callings. This duality is staggering to contemplate. As I understand the Catholic doctrine, it is founded on the teachings of Jesus Christ who preached forgiveness even as they nailed him to die on the cross. From what I know of Fr. Groeschel and his teachings, he was speaking in terms of forgiveness when he gave the interview. When he called Sandusky ‘that poor guy’ it was Sandusky’s soul, I’m certain, that he was picturing when he uttered those words. A tragic soul, indeed. A soul that will suffer greatly if we are to believe in Jesus Christ and the Catholic afterlife. It is also my belief that because Fr. Groeschel has been trained in the workings of the psyche, his comments regarding abuse came from the same kernel of understanding that is all human frailty. I’m not excusing his remarks. But I am attempting to understand what he saw in these flawed priests, that would lead him to make certain conclusions. I don’t think the world can be broken down in terms of simple black and white. I do think some people are endowed with an ability to see deeply into the gray areas. I believe that Father Groeschel has this ability. Sadly, his interview comments were not well thought out, or properly explained, thus a terrible ending for a man who gave selflessly to so many, for such a long time. He often spoke openly on his show about the improbability of his making it into heaven. Perhaps this is his final cross. I choose to remember Fr. Groeschel for all the good he has done in this shaky world.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/VSNJ6PNY7UPCR274OOBM6UNYIY NinaS

    Hi friends, my close friend, Mr. John Bardes, met Father
    Benedict in a Foster House, after his parents died and he and his seven
    brothers and sisters were left without a parent support. Father Benedict became an angel-parent for
    John, who was eight years old when he met Father Benedict. Mr. Bardes describes Father Benedict as the
    most kind, poorest, honest, and wonderful people he ever knows. Father Benedict prayed for John, supported
    him, and wrote him letters when John was a soldier in Vietnam.

    Father Benedict
    baptized John’s two babies, whom John’s wife and he adapted more then twenty
    years ago. In a few years after that,
    John’s wife’s died from cancer, and he himself raised two children. Father Benedict gave all his money to John
    (about twenty thousands), which allow John to take care of children properly. John promised to return money to Father Benedict;
    however, he was not able to do so, and this fact make him suffers. Now, one John’s children graduated from
    university, and the second is in college.
    John has resided in Los Gatos, Ca.

    You would not imagine friends; I met Father Benedict in
    California a few times when he came to Californian monastery, near Santa
    Cruz. John introduced me to Father
    Benedict. John’s children admire Father
    Benedict, and of course John did not tell yet them what Father Benedict did for
    them. Father Benedict never mentioned
    anything about money or his other support when he met John’s family in a
    Californian monastery. My name is Nina,
    and I am an Orthodox Christian, but I tell you Guys that Father Benedict is a
    holy person! God Bless him!

    I want you to remember that now is the time when a dark side
    attack true Christians, especially holy
    people such as Father Benedict, who shines very brightly and who spreads Jesus’
    truth to people! They set up the
    situations in order to falsely accuse Christians, and they mastered in
    creations of provocations against the true Christians. Please, remember it! Let us support Father Benedict and pray for
    him! I told you, friends, that Father
    Benedict gave all his money to John to raise children. Maybe, now he needs financial help; please, those
    of you who know him, who can, and who is near HELP Father Benedict!

    I wrote the truth. My name is Nina Sidorova, and I have
    resided in Mountain View, CA. My phone
    is 408-204-8252.

    With my blessings to all of you,

    Nina

  • Claudia

    I applaud Father Groeschel’ s work for the poor but I question both his prudential judgement and his theology. I remember quite well his “shock” and his “we just didn’t know” response to the sexual abuse crisis which exploded in Boston in 2002. He may not have known the extent, but he knew it existed as a psychologist and as a realistic New Yorker. I was appalled at that response and I remember his talking about it on EWTN. His remarks about teen seducers didn’t surprise me, really. Of course, the media went overboard in some cases but not all and this priest talked as if they were all exaggerating or even fabricating.
    I believe it was God’s will that the media excoriated the abusive priests and their enablers. “Expose the works of darkness to the light of day.” If you are a Catholic priest and you don’t expect to be held to the highest moral standards in all that you do by God and your fellow man, DON’T BE A PRIEST.
    I