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The Pastoral Approach -- or, No Blood No Foul

By Diogenes ( articles ) | Aug 28, 2004

Vision Book Cover Prints

Here's one of the those "looking-glass war" stories which -- if you have the patience to sort through the non-denials, no-comments, half-answers, and oblique concessions -- gives a bright but narrow glimpse into the workings of Howard Hubbard's Albany Diocese.

In a nutshell: erratic attorney John Aretakis named Albany priest Carl Urban as a homosexual predator. Urban strongly denied the charges. Retired police detective Lincoln Grimm has come forward to claim that Fr. Urban was notorious to the police as a client of male prostitutes, and that in fact Urban had sexually propositioned him 16 years ago in the rough trade district of Schenectady. Grimm says he didn't arrest Urban at the time but contacted Bishop Hubbard to inform him of what had happened. Now the head-fakes begin:

Diocese spokesperson Kenneth Goldfarb would not confirm or deny the incident occurred or comment on whether Urban had been sent away for treatment. However, he did say it should be noted that none of the allegations made against Urban by Grimm were considered illegal or are mentioned in a recent complaint the pastor filed with the Committee on Professional Standards against Aretakis.

"We're not going to talk about anything of that nature involving a priest (or any employee of the diocese)," said Goldfarb. "When a concern of this nature is brought to the diocese, it is viewed seriously and dealt with appropriately. "We have a policy that deals with clergy sex abuse of minors, and that is handled differently. This is not that kind of case," he added.

No minors were involved; no charges were filed; the situation -- if there was a situation -- was dealt with appropriately (you have the word of an official of a Catholic diocese for it). To suggest that Father Urban would be unsuited to preach, expound, and defend the faith in its fullness betrays a fundamental misunderstanding of the role of authentically renewed ministry in today's Church. As Goldfarb says -- quoting, I think, Presbyterorum Ordinis -- "This is not that kind of case."

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