Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

JERSEY SHOCK HORROR

By Diogenes (articles ) | Apr 29, 2003

The background is boring. Newark priest Fr. Gene Heyndricks pleaded guilty to the charge that he had solicited a 16-year-old male prostitute in Montreal. The usual boundary exploration problems.

The reaction is stunning. The North Bergen Reporter quotes saddened Catholic parishioners who, shockingly, aren't demanding women priests, aren't calling for an end to celibacy, don't find their faith shaken, and who claim they go to church -- get this -- to worship God.

Parishioners at St. John Nepomucene said that the recent scandals will not keep them away from going to church. "My feeling is that if someone wants to go to church, they're not going because of the priest," said the anonymous parishioner said. "They're going to worship God. I don't think something like this brings the community down. It's a shock to hear, because he was such a community-minded person. It's a shock to the community. But it doesn't hurt the community."

"I think we've all moved on," said Velez. "I think we've turned the page and are trying to forget this happened with Father Gene. We're a strong parish with good people. We'll be fine. It's disappointing, but we'll recover." Another avid parishioner, Luz Perez, agreed.

"It's really sad that this happened, but now Father Gene has admitted he did wrong and will pay the price," Perez said. "We're all saddened by this. We didn't want to believe it was true. But now, he's said he did it, so we have to get on with ourselves. We have a good group of people here who truly care about the parish and their faith. We'll get by."

Now almost all the lay faithful of my acquaintance have the same Catholic conviction: the unworthiness of the minister hindereth not the effect of the sacrament -- or, as they would put it, "Father Bruce isn't the reason we go to Mass." They are distressed to see their pastor or bishop pushed into the back of a police cruiser with a windbreaker over his head, but it doesn't rattle their faith. That said, when was the last time a journalist bumped up against this kind of churchgoer: sensible, charitable, and doctrinally articulate laymen?

An appeal from our founder, Dr. Jeffrey Mirus:

Dear reader: If you found the information on this page helpful in your pursuit of a better Catholic life, please support our work with a donation. Your donation will help us reach seven million Truth-seeking readers worldwide this year. Thank you!

Our Fall Campaign
Progress toward our year-end goal ($27,907 to go):
$150,000.00 $122,092.96
19% 81%
Sound Off! CatholicCulture.org supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

There are no comments yet for this item.

Fall 2014 Campaign
Subscribe for free
Shop Amazon
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Recent Catholic Commentary

The Complexity of Reforming Religious Communities 13 hours ago
Speaking Softly to Women Religious December 16
In showdown with American sisters, the Vatican blinked December 16
Policing, torture, reasons of State, and our Christian mistake December 16
Can torture ever be justified? Round II. December 15

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
Pope Francis: Europe seems 'elderly and haggard' CWN - November 25
Pope Francis, Ecumenical Patriarch sign joint declaration, lament persecution of Christians CWN - December 1
Consistory for new cardinals scheduled for February CWN - December 11
Vatican report on US women religious calls for further self-assessment CWN - December 16
Pope brokered deal to open US-Cuba ties CWN - 11 hours ago