Empty Chair Syndrome, Part 2

So long as we’re talking about The Old, The Loud, and the Deluded  (yes Clint, we’re still shaking our heads over you), try this one on:

A prominent Roman Catholic spiritual leader who has spent decades counseling wayward priests for the archdiocese provoked shock and outrage on Thursday as word spread of a recent interview he did with a Catholic newspaper during which he said that “youngsters” were often to blame when priests sexually abused them and that priests should not be jailed for such abuse on their first offense.

“Suppose you have a man having a nervous breakdown, and a youngster comes after him,” Father [Benedict] Groeschel, now 79, said in the interview. “A lot of the cases, the youngster — 14, 16, 18 — is the seducer.”

The Rev. Benedict Groeschel, who made the remarks, is a beloved figure among many Catholics and a founder of Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, a conservative priestly order based in New York. He hosts a weekly show on the Eternal Word Television Network and has written 45 books.  

The comments were published on Monday by The National Catholic Register, which is owned by EWTN, a religious broadcaster based in Alabama.  — NYTimes

Now before you start gagging and screaming for heads to roll, the network and the archdiocese of New York denounced the comments, which were removed from the publication’s website.  The news article quotes several priests and officials who noted, sadly, that Father G has been noticeably slipping with age, and while still a figure of considerable authority and renown, is no longer the bright light he was.

Sound familiar?  So let’s show him some love.  Some Christian compassion, if you will.

He also expressed sympathy for Jerry Sandusky, the retired Penn State football coach who was recently convicted of serial child molesting, calling him “this poor guy.”

That’s it.  Cut off his oxygen.

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4 Responses to Empty Chair Syndrome, Part 2

  1. julesagray says:

    Wow. Really? He actually shit this out his mouth?

  2. Merkin Way says:

    He has a PhD in psychology, and has counseled priests for over 40 years as well as taught at seminary. It’s difficult not to cite his remarks here as reason for the kinds of aberrant, perverted behavior priests worldwide have engaged in. If this is the kind of training and counsel they get, no wonder they’re predators and conspirators.

    But I really think it’s just a case of an elderly man growing befuddled and saying something he didn’t mean. He himself admits as much: “I did not intend to blame the victim,” Father Groeschel wrote in a statement published on The Catholic Register’s site. “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.”

    As a practicing Roman Catholic myself, I’m willing to cut him a break, but I think going forward they need to take a hard look at his health and activities While he might or might not be ready for retirement, he’s earned himself a muzzle.

    • Hose B says:

      My thoughts exactly, Merkin. I’d prefer to think this was a slip of the tongue by a good man grown old, rather than a revelation of lurking evil that guided his thoughts and entire career. But it’s time.

  3. Joe Balls says:

    No way. Try this on: this guy epitomizes exactly what is wrong with the way the church has instructed its priests, covered their crimes, and allowed themselves to perpetuate abuse by moving it around instead of confronting it. After half a century of self-delusion and victim blaming he slips up and lets it out. Stung by multi-million dollar lawsuits that have crippled it over the last few years, Church leaders quickly move to play spin and deny: they haven’t changed their minds, just their tactics. They even get the old guy to issue a retraction before shuffling his sorry ass off.

    No, I give them no slack at all. None. Zip. Nada.

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