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Clarifying his status

By Domenico Bettinelli, Jr. (articles ) | Oct 10, 2003

Diogenes has been commenting on the case of the murder of a young man on Cape Cod and the connection with two priests. The status of one of the priests, Father Donald Turlick, is unclear and news reports have not helped. So I called the Diocese of Bridgeport and talked to its spokesman.

The spokesman told me that Turlick was ordained for Bridgeport in 1961 and in the late 1970s the bishop gave him permission to live and work outside the diocese and pursue his education and counseling work. He has had no assignment from the diocese since the late 1970s. There have been no complaints about him and he remains a priest in good standing with the diocese. It is also their understanding that he has not been active as a priest with a public ministry. And he had no good idea why Turlick was not listed in Kennedy's comrepehensive 2002 Catholic Directory and thought it might have been a clerical error.

This brings up another question regarding priests who serve outside their home diocese, especially in jobs that have nothing to do with the Catholic priesthood. Who oversees people like Turlick? Who ensures he is living and working and teaching according to the Catholic faith? In a time of a priest shortage, why is a priest working as a therapist outside his home diocese? Did Turlick have to check in with his home diocese more than two decades later?

Someone may reply that if you remove all priests from any job except parish ministry you may lose a Catholic influence in that area. Of course, that would be excessive clericalism. Why must a priest provide that Catholic influence? Where are the laypeople that Vatican II said should evangelize the secular world? Just a thought.

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  • Posted by: Pseudodionysius - Oct. 12, 2003 12:12 AM ET USA

    Verax, How do myself, WF, and others, married, but itching to fight for the faith once delivered do? I am becoming increasingly tempted to consider Holy Orders one day -- but do not want to be some Novus Ordo grandee in a Deacon's costume with no power to win souls. I don't trust any local centering clergy to help me discern. If 500 characters per post inspires others, then that is fine. But, surely there must be more that we can do.

  • Posted by: Pseudodionysius - Oct. 12, 2003 12:08 AM ET USA

    Verax, How do myself, WF, and others, married, but itching to fight for the faith once delivered do? I am becoming increasingly tempted to consider Holy Orders one day -- but do not want to be some Novus Ordo grandee in a Deacon's costume with no power to win souls. I don't trust any local centering clergy to help me discern. If 500 characters per post inspires others, then that is fine. But, surely there must be more that we can do.

  • Posted by: - Oct. 11, 2003 12:16 PM ET USA

    Pseudo: And John Ogilvie, martyr in Glasgow. And Margaret Sinclair, virgin of Edinburgh. Orate pro nobis ! (I am Sulpician-trained, McGill educated.)

  • Posted by: Pseudodionysius - Oct. 11, 2003 11:53 AM ET USA

    Verax, I did not realize that you are a priest. Please do say prayers for wayward pseudonymous lay people like myself, that our Hatred of Error never becomes Narrowness of Spirit. I am honoured, sir. Our Lord will win, and I am greatly blessed to have you give us encouragement. Keep up the good fight. St Edmund Campion, pray for us.

  • Posted by: Pseudodionysius - Oct. 11, 2003 11:48 AM ET USA

    Attention, new Princes of the Church, If you would like to do more good than you can possibly ever know, particularly if you are a Canadian Cardinal, nailing "Centering Prayer" to the Cross, as a corruption and desecration of over 2,000 years of Catholic asceticism, will do wonders for revitalizing traditional liturgy. I pray that we may be accounted worthy.

  • Posted by: - Oct. 11, 2003 11:09 AM ET USA

    Verax: It was old priests like you who inspired me to enter seminary six years ago. I didn't make it far. Beyond my own unworthiness (I'm not a hero and blush when you seek to pin the shiny "hero" badge on me) there was a well-disciplined phalanx of middle-aged heretics who were turning back admirers of the old priesthood. After many years of considering a return, I got married. Perhaps my son (and any future sons) will be a priest like you. Until, then we'll have to work around those we have.

  • Posted by: Pseudodionysius - Oct. 10, 2003 11:12 PM ET USA

    Dom: And, may I add, that a new convent of Franciscan or Dominican nuns in traditional habits are quite a force for Catholic influence if your neighborhood should be so blessed. ps Verax, I'll continue to post, but only if no one swells my pride anymore by nominating me for Bishop's offices; suggest I get a red hat, and I will cease posting as penitential cleansing. Ave Maria

  • Posted by: - Oct. 10, 2003 11:01 PM ET USA

    C'mon, WF. You are one of the "good guys"! Not all teaching priests are like some of the ones at Camarillo. Some of us are faithful and have "scars" for it. In USA the Church Militant surely needs to wake up and become "militant." I see you as "militant," so especially want you in our priesthood. Several "doors are open." Someone like you has to pick up the torch after we old guys fall from age or exhaustion. Counting on you ! Ask OLW to take charge. She promised in A.D. 1061.

  • Posted by: - Oct. 10, 2003 10:44 PM ET USA

    Dom: Your points and clarification well made. "Episcopos," Greek for bishop, means "overseer." Perhaps some, weak in Greek, failed to notice this.

  • Posted by: - Oct. 10, 2003 10:32 PM ET USA

    Ps: I know what you mean by "fog."Here in the SW desert, where most "Catholics" seem lost in spiritual, dogmatic, and moral "fog," even extreme heat doesn't "burn it off."They live in a pollyanna dream-world, fleeing Christian responsibility by the escapism of running thru "prayers," dabbling in a Buddhistic sleep of "centering prayer," or gaping at the Sacrament.They won't hear the Lord calling out, as he did to Francis, "Go, REBUILD my Church ." We must WORK to bring about what we PRAY FOR.

  • Posted by: - Oct. 10, 2003 9:19 PM ET USA

    The Council of Trent seems to have had to deal with the same problem. In its 23d session it decrees: "Vagrants and Persons Useless to the Churches Shall Be Excluded from Orders...no one shall in the future be ordained who is not assigned to that church or pious place for the need or utility of which he is promoted, where he may discharge his duties and not wander about without any fixed abode..." Hmmmm, well this is the future. Oh well, we ignore Vatican II, why would we pay attention to Trent?

  • Posted by: - Oct. 10, 2003 8:35 PM ET USA

    Well, I never thought of the Chi-Coms as role models, but if our priests had half the discipline of Chairman Mao's followers, we not only wouldn't have our current scandal, there wouldn't be a media lib or pseudo-Catholic pol who would dare take on the Church Militant.

  • Posted by: - Oct. 10, 2003 6:14 PM ET USA

    Verax, It's not that I think they need parole officers as much as I think it should be like a boss overseeing his workers. If an employee gets to tele-commute, he must check up on him at some point to be sure the work is getting done. Using the same analogy, why isn't he getting a "performance review"? I'm not referring to priests with health leave or retired. This guy obviously is healthy enough to work. So where's the oversight?

  • Posted by: Pseudodionysius - Oct. 10, 2003 5:49 PM ET USA

    Verax: To be frank, I would rather do it here than utter most of what I think in public. Even when I couch it diplomatically, and am as prudent as possible, many times the room draws silent and no one says anything. It is not pleasant to ask a question, and instead become the centre of attention. And I avoid any satirical flourishes that I use here. There is a spiritual fog that has descended over many Catholics and former Catholics that is almost impenetrable.

  • Posted by: - Oct. 10, 2003 5:17 PM ET USA

    Pseudo: You might be surprised at how many of us regularly pay very careful attention to your every word !

  • Posted by: - Oct. 10, 2003 5:15 PM ET USA

    Dom: You seem to think of priests as "criminals on parole," needing constant checking-up. If a priest's talents can't be used in his own diocese, he is often PERMITTED to employ them elsewhere. If he has a record of being trustworthy and gives no scandal, what is the problem? The R.C. priesthood is not the regimented Chi-Com army! Because of the 0.8%, has all TRUST now been lost ? Some are outside their dioceses because of age, health, weather, climate, etc.There is no "leash law," Deo gratias!

  • Posted by: Pseudodionysius - Oct. 10, 2003 12:28 PM ET USA

    Where are the laypeople that Vatican II said should evangelize the secular world? Just a thought. Reading, hanging out at EWTN, CWNews, and posting to this board, because due to pastoral and Bishopforic neglect, everyone thinks that we're cranks in our parish. Perhaps here, someone will listen to us, and the tide will turn. Note that even with the most splendidly melifluous rhetorical skills, most Orthodox Catholic assertions go over like leaden balloons with our fellow parishioners.

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