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the wrong man for the job

By Diogenes (articles ) | Sep 07, 2005

Back in June 2002, at the Dallas bishops' meeting, abuse victim Michael Bland delivered an "impact statement" to the assembly. Molested as a youth by a Servite priest, he entered the Servites himself, got ordained, eventually denounced his abuser and left the order and the priesthood. Following are some excerpts from his statement:

Perhaps my priest perpetrator suffered from adolescent arrestment, narcissism, arrogance, sexual identity issues, depression or simply an ongoing lapse of judgement. The reality remains; he was an adult, a priest, and I was a minor. He sexually abused me. To the perpetrating priest's credit at least he admitted to sexually abusing me. ...

I remember him doing things to me that had never been done to me before. I did not know what to call it. He told me it was ok, it was part of growing up, it was normal. This left me confused questioning in my own mind how could this be? How could we do this? Does he think about it when he is saying mass? I wondered if he told anyone. I was confused. I was afraid. At the time, I told no one, but then again, I did not know how to talk about it or what to say. ...

After sending a letter to the perpetrator's superior, I was asked to come to Rome to meet with his superiors. I was told not to tell anyone of my "weekend trip" not family, friends, or the priests I lived with. I obeyed their request. After this meeting in Rome, I felt alone and isolated. ... Shortly after returning I was requested to meet with their attorney and answer some questions. I was also asked to partake in a reconciliation process with my perpetrator since we were both priests. I could not meet either of their requests. With the help of my therapist, I began thinking about myself and put my psychological, emotional, and spiritual well being first.

The perpetrator was Fr. John M. Huels, OSM, a prominent canonist, liturgist, and gay-rights activist, with plenty of damage to his credit in all three fields.

An August 7, 2002, article in the Washington Post by Alan Cooperman quotes a statement from the Archbishop of Ottawa, Marcel Gervais, saying that Huels had "announced his intention to leave the Servite order and seek laicization." I can't find a later indication as to whether the defrocking took place or not. Canada is not bound by the U.S. bishops' child protection charter, and Huels may have found some wiggle room. Layman or cleric, however, he'll be leading a seminar two weeks from now at the convention of the Canadian Canon Law Society.

Why?

There's more...

A perceptive friend informs me that the book Empowerment for Ministry, written by the same John Huels, was on the recommended reading list for permanent deacons in the Washington, DC archdiocese last summer-- 2 years after the Dallas charter went into effect.

Again, why?

The Dallas norms do not require us to burn all books by priests who admit to sexual abuse. But should we be recommending those men as mentors?

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Show 9 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: - Sep. 08, 2005 6:10 PM ET USA

    I believe John Huels is still teaching at St. Paul's in Ottawa. I also believe that Fr. Barry Glendinning, the Canadian version of Shanley and Geoghan, was in circulation as a liturgist and accompanied Abp. Gervais to a liturgy function in the last year or so. It is also alleged that he visited Labrador in this capacity with Fr. G. Whitty in 2002.

  • Posted by: Fr. William - Sep. 08, 2005 12:39 PM ET USA

    Cardinal McCarrick has promoted & inflicted on his clergy the writings of a priest who openly supports the gay lifestyle, a lifestyle that promotes sexual predation young men, and who is a known pedophile & ephebophile. And yet we hear that his retirement has NOT been accepted? What is happening here? What needs to be clarified? He has lied to his own brother bishops about then-Cardinal Ratzinger's letter. He now openly supports a gay priest who routinely attacks the liturgy & Canon Law...

  • Posted by: - Sep. 08, 2005 11:50 AM ET USA

    Even after being exposed as a homosexual child rapist, John Huels wrote an article advising how to ignore the instruction,"Redemptionis Sacramentum". WORSHIP vol.78 Sept. 2004 published by St. Johns Abbey in Collegeville Mn. This Abbey has not only produced an abundance of liturgical nonsense for years but also over a dozen homosexual child rapists of there own. Their former Abbot had admitted to raping another priest at the abbey! One of the child raping priests has been investigated for murder

  • Posted by: - Sep. 08, 2005 11:40 AM ET USA

    What really intrigues me here is that Deacons get to vote on their clerical dress. I thought the clerical dress proper to all was a roman collar in a suit, with the cassock being left to the discretion of the cleric since 1998. At least that's what Canon Law and the supplementary Canons approved by the USCCB say.

  • Posted by: - Sep. 08, 2005 6:25 AM ET USA

    If anyone doubts where the abuses in today's Liturgy originated, a reading of Helen Hull Hitchcock's article - linked above - should suffice for conviction. The agenda of 'expert liturgists' such as Huels and McManus, together with the pusillanimous attitude - or frank endorsement - of members of the episcopacy (think: Mahony, McCarrick, Bernardin, Weakland et al.) lies at the root. The enemy is still within the walls...

  • Posted by: Vincit omnia amor - Sep. 08, 2005 1:39 AM ET USA

    "I understand His Holiness has not accepted Cardinal McCarrick's resignation at this time." I second that!

  • Posted by: Meg Q - Sep. 07, 2005 11:21 PM ET USA

    Don't you understand? It's not about "gayness". What does "gay" have to do with it? The bishops have told us over and over it's about child molestation. And what does any of that have to do with canon law or books on ministry?? You are really being a bit hysterical. I suppose Abp Gervais, wise shepherd of PM Paul Martin and other prominent Canadian, er, Catholics, would not allow this to go forward if the fellow was really as bad as all that. Don't you *trust* our bishops???

  • Posted by: Gil125 - Sep. 07, 2005 6:02 PM ET USA

    I understand His Holiness has not accepted Cardinal McCarrick's resignation at this time.

  • Posted by: Fr. William - Sep. 07, 2005 5:09 PM ET USA

    This is outrageous! Not only "why?" but HOW can a gay activist give a seminar about the Church's Teaching & Canons? and WHO gave him permission for this and WHO invited him to speak? ALL the traitors need to be ferreted out and removed from all positions of authority, governance & public ministry in the Church. This should also be the end of the Canadian CLS, I pray & hope. Might the Canadian CLS seek a reform of its reform, guided by Holy Mother Church. St. Josemaria Escriva, pray for us.

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