no prior warning

By Diogenes (articles ) | Feb 25, 2005

A couple months ago an Oakland neighborhood was incensed to learn that the local Dominican Priory was used to warehouse clerical sex-offenders. The prior, Fr. Roberto Corral, O.P., attempted to defuse the PR bomb by holding a tightly controlled by-invitation-only meeting with neighbors. The San Francisco Faith reports on the meeting, noting that some of the obstreperous laity not only failed to cherish the diversity which the miscreants provided the community, but asked questions that were in the worst possible taste.

"Around 8:30, the subject came up about a priest asking permission of Corral to go to Bangkok. It was denied, and he went anyway. That really blew the lid off things, that he was able to go anyway. Everyone wants to know where he got the money, and he obviously didn't go there for priestly duties. It got a little acrimonious after that. Also they made a statement that they were just now putting together a program to control what these guys can access on the internet. The reaction was one of shock, because everyone thought it should have been in place from the get-go. That angered a lot of folks.

"When the question came up about what they wore, we were told that they wore the Dominican garb on the premises and dressed in their clerical clothes when they went out. That was kind of surprising."

You can say that again. Both friar and neighbor must have choked on that line when it was delivered. But read on:

"They spoke about one of the men falling in love with a girl and running away with her several years ago, but I assumed that all the others are there because of pedophilia and there was not much further distinction made. The people there wanted names and photographs because they have children and want to protect them, and that was denied." ...

Since reading the testimony of the two former seminarians in the November San Francisco Faith, another former seminarian at St. Albert's has come forward. Pietro (not his real name) said he thinks St. Albert's neighbors are being misled by Father Corral.

It behooves us, I think, to remember the great apostolic needs in Bangkok, and the importance of putting aside Western theological prejudices in order to address them on their own terms.

"There was a secret meeting at St. Albert's every time they moved one of these guys in," said Pietro. "We were ordered not to even talk to our parents about it. There was no supervision. Zero. From day one. They might be getting some kind of counseling, but no supervision. One of the priests, a child molester, walked all over the neighborhood after he moved in, and no one was watching him. They can all roam freely. And they don't wear clerical garb, they wear civilian clothes when they leave. No one can tell they are Dominicans or priests or anything.

Many forward-looking clergymen assure us that clerical garb puts a barrier between themselves and they people they serve. Incidentally, Jeff Miller's Domini Can-Can (below) was collaged from the 2001 General Chapter and must be understood to have no connection whatsover to the present ills of the Order of Preachers. Call it ars gratia artis.

Probably Entirely Innocent

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  • Posted by: - Mar. 03, 2005 3:46 PM ET USA

    This may be hard for some...but I'll still say it. The Dominicans are WORSE than the Jesuits. You read correctly. They duplicitously wrap themselves in the banner of orthodoxy, while being liberal and corrupt like Jesuits. The phoniness part of it is what makes them worse. Gustavo Guiterrez joined the Dominicans in 1999. Read about their one US college in the Oct. 2004 New Oxford Review. Providence College (pictured above) has a "sex professor" and an OP Dean of studies defending it.

  • Posted by: - Feb. 28, 2005 12:46 PM ET USA

    Question for experts: The waiter in the hospital gown. Is he trying to do some type of quasi-heretical disco version of St Dominic's Nine Ways of Prayer? I can't picture this fellow taking the discipline by flailing himself with chains somehow. Not to be uncharitable or anything.

  • Posted by: - Feb. 26, 2005 8:33 AM ET USA

    Diogenes, You forgot the Jennifer Beals' FlashDance soundtrack: "oh, what a feeling"...perhaps the Hare Krishna fellow doing the lambada in front of the altern there could do a little breakdancing. Hakuna Matata.

  • Posted by: - Feb. 25, 2005 10:36 PM ET USA

    Oh what a web they weave, when first they practice to deceive! If the commandment proscribing lying is not observed, why should any of the others?

  • Posted by: - Feb. 25, 2005 7:48 PM ET USA

    a.o., my understanding is that the Dominicans are a Pontifical Order, which means they don't need the bishop's permission to be there.

  • Posted by: - Feb. 25, 2005 6:46 PM ET USA

    The guy flitting before the altar . . . . Is that a hospital gown he has on, you know, the type that opens in the back?

  • Posted by: Ignacio177 - Feb. 25, 2005 6:28 PM ET USA

    I am glad to see that Diogenes is as hard on the Dominicans as he is on the Jesuits. The only thing that keeps Domingo and Ignacio from turning over in the grave is that they are enjoying the beatific vision.

  • Posted by: - Feb. 25, 2005 5:37 PM ET USA

    Catch the face of the man in the background. Move over, Mastercard. THIS is priceless.

  • Posted by: - Feb. 25, 2005 3:13 PM ET USA

    No, not the Rosary, Leo--but I'll bet they do things with colorful beads.

  • Posted by: Charles134 - Feb. 25, 2005 2:56 PM ET USA

    In fairness, the last few novitiate classes of this province have been large and very solid. I know, I've met several of them personally. Something that troubles me greatly is whether the sex offenders in the priory will be eligible to vote on the suitability of canditates to continue, and on the running of the place in general. They are a pretty large block, perhaps 1/4 or 1/5 of the solemnly professed at that house. Will the inmates have a say in the running of the asylum?

  • Posted by: - Feb. 25, 2005 1:13 PM ET USA

    "A man who governs his passions is master of his world. We must either command them or be enslaved by them. It is better to be a hammer than an anvil." - Saint Dominic Do you suppose they say the rosary every evening at St. Albert's???

  • Posted by: Fr. William - Feb. 25, 2005 12:17 PM ET USA

    The new bishop of Oakland has jurisdiction in this matter. He can kick these guys out of the diocese. Let us pray that Bishop Vigneron either: (1) goes to the priory, ships the residents in locked containers (fitted with air vents) to their main province house, & razes the priory building; or (2) locks the priory doors from the outside, bars the windows, throws away the keys, and ensures delivery of food once/day through a door vent; or (3) finds a reasonable millstone supplier.