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Question Title Posted By Question Date
Father Benedict Groeschel Hope Thursday, August 30, 2012


First, i want to start with telling you that i have been reading your blog for over two years now and find that you are very respectful, intelligent, and genuine. My comments or questions today are not directed at you. I have written to you on two different occasions asking questions about why domestic violence/sexual assault shelters that i have worked at have had hauntings. I am a psychologist working with victims of abuse, 95% of my clients have been sexually abused as children. I have worked with sexual abuse survivors for over 5 years. These individuals, as adults, are in such psychological, emotional, and spiritual pain... pain that, even with therapy, will last a life time and may control their lives until they die.

While at work today, i found articles in the news regarding comments made by Father Benedict Groeschel regarding sexual abuse. I became enraged at his comments. Here are some articles that are currently reporting on this:

He is prominent in the Catholic Church ministry and many people look to him for spiritual advice. I have watched his Sunday evening show on EWTN and have at least one book of his.

{paragraph deleted by moderator}

I have read many posts/answers you have written that state these few priests do not represent the church and that the priests who sexually abuse are about 1% of all priests. I completely accepted this and understood where you were coming from. But at this point, after hearing about this man's comments, this is an institutional problem. I am so sick of the excuses.

I believe that evil has taken over the Vatican, the body of the church, and the leadership. The continued struggle for power and the apathy with criminal behavior within its leadership is sick.

I am so heartbroken with the apathy and the rationalization, that i have lost all faith in the Roman Catholic Church. I feel that the people (who are the true body of the church) have been cheated, lied to, manipulated, and treated like idiots.

I would like to hear your thoughts on Father Groeschel and about evil slowly overtaking the Roman Catholic Church.

This was the final nail in the coffin for me. I am converting to the Russian Eastern Orthodox church. I have dragged my feet on this, but i am confident with my decision now. At least the OCA quickly forced Metropolitan Jonah out when he hid a priest's rape allegation.

Question Answered by Bro. Ignatius Mary, OMSM(r)

Dear Hope:

I am sorry to hear that you have lost hope. But, your loss of hope is not based on facts, but upon pride and hurt. To leave the Catholic Church places your soul at risk. The Catholic Church is perfect; it is only its members who are not. The reason you have lost faith in the Catholic Church is because you are looking at man, at the storms, instead of looking at Jesus.

St. Peter could actually walk on water when Jesus beckoned him to come. It was only when St. Peter took his eyes off Jesus and instead looked at the storms around him that he sank. Keep your eyes on Jesus, not on the sins of men.

Keep in mind that you are a sinner, too. What did Jesus say to the sex offender? The woman accused of adultery? After writing down some things in the sand and everyone left, Jesus turned to the sinner and said "Go and sin no more."

Sex offenses, which almost all people are sex offenders (e.g., fornication, masturbation, lust, adultery, concubinage, etc., these are all sex offenses/crimes), can be forgiven. Who are we to condemn them when Jesus did not?

To judge the whole Church for the sins of a very, very few is grave sin itself.

The Church is not responsible for the sins of its members or even of its bishops. The Catholic Church is the Church that Jesus founded and Jesus does not authorize you or me or anyone to abandon his Church. If you leave you will be sinning and risking your soul.

There is no sin "slowly overtaking the Church." If that were true, then God is a liar. The gates of hell shall not prevail against the Church. God says that. If that is not true then God is a liar. God is not a liar. Satan is the father of all lies. Satan is the ultimate instigator behind all people who leave the Church. The sex scandal is over. Those cases involved situations mostly from around 1950-1985. And, as you quoted, maybe around 1% were guilty of anything. I will bet you that you have family members or ancestors who were corrupt, committed crimes and such. Does that mean your whole family is corrupt, that you should divorce and disown your entire family because of those few? No.

As far as Fr. Groeschel, I should state that I have a passing acquaintance with him. I found him a good man and a good priest. I have, however, not always agreed with his psychological assessments.

You need to keep in mind that the Huffington Post and the Daily Mail are organizations that hate the Catholic Church. They are not credible sources about anything concerning the Catholic Church. I have read both of their reports. The first thing I noticed is that they quote Father Groeschel out-of-context and with a bias like a drooling dog happy to find meat to bite into.

Father Groeschel's mental capacities have waned. He did not mean to imply that a child is at fault for his own abuse. The adult, even an adult with mental problems, is always the one at fault. Taking his words out-of-context makes it appear that he is blaming the teenagers. He is not saying that. Such jumping to conclusions is a sin. It is called rash judgment. The Church teaches that:

2478 To avoid rash judgment, everyone should be careful to interpret insofar as possible his neighbor's thoughts, words, and deeds in a favorable way:

 Every good Christian ought to be more ready to give a favorable interpretation to another's statement than to condemn it. But if he cannot do so, let him ask how the other understands it. And if the latter understands it badly, let the former correct him with love. If that does not suffice, let the Christian try all suitable ways to bring the other to a correct interpretation so that he may be saved.

Have you obeyed this moral requirement?

I think I know what Father Groeschel was trying to say. He just did not say it well. Keeping with the moral imperative that we must be ready to give a favorable interpretation, to give the benefit of the doubt, and to clarify by asking the person what he meant, we need to reserve judgment until we hear from Father. Well, Father has responded to the controversy. He issued this statement:

I apologize for my comments. I did not intend to blame the victim. A priest (or anyone else) who abuses a minor is always wrong and is always responsible. My mind and my way of expressing myself are not as clear as they used to be. I have spent my life trying to help others the best that I could. I deeply regret any harm I have caused to anyone.

The Case is closed.

Hope, I have done you a great favor by deleting part of your question. Your accusations about Fr. Groeschel were libelous and sinful. I am not a lawyer, but I am a para-legal. What you said, I believe, would be considered libel per se, which means that the statement is automatically considered libelous, and it is up to you to prove otherwise. Father does not have to prove anything. You have to defend your accusations with provable facts. Again, I am not a lawyer, but had I allowed your words to remain, Father Groeschel could have, if he wished, sued you for libel, and I believe, he would have prevailed.

More importantly, your accusations were gravely sinful. As a psychologist you should know better than to jump to the huge conclusion you did based on these few statements that were taken out-of-context and without checking with Father about what he meant by his comments. 

However, even if Father Groeschel was some sort of monster, which he is not, that does not give you the excuse of leaving Jesus' Church. If you wish to abandon Christ's only true Church in the fullness of the Faith, then do so. Stop using others as an excuse.

I pray that you will mortify your pride and remain in the Catholic Church. Abandon yourself to God and His Church and be healed. Keep you eyes on Jesus and not on the sins of man.

God Bless,
Bro. Ignatius Mary


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