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Father Groeschel leaving EWTN program

September 04, 2012

Father Benedict Groeschel is leaving the EWTN television show for which he has been host, in the wake of controversy roused by his remarks in an interview on sexual abuse.

Father Groeschel came under heavy fire after an interview with the National Catholic Register in which he suggested that some priests had been seduced by teenage boys. Later, in apologizing for the remarks, the noted Franciscan priest said: “My mind and my way of expressing myself are not as clear as they used to be.”

After consulting with his religious community, the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, and with EWTN staff, Father Groeschel made the decision to stop hosting the Sunday Night Prime program.

Michael Warsaw, president of ETWN, issued a statement thanking Father Groeschel for his years of work. “Father Benedict has led a life of tremendous compassion and service to others and his spiritual insights have been a great gift to the EWTN family for many years. We are profoundly grateful to him and assure him of our prayers,” he said.


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  • Posted by: koinonia - Sep. 09, 2012 7:55 AM ET USA

    Fr. Groeschel's record speaks for itself. Nonetheless, his television career ended poorly. How many priests on EWTN have been forced out amidst scandal? In two decades the number is striking. It would seem remarkably high for any network much less one that is Catholic full-time. Is network television good for priests? Perhaps there is nothing of significance to glean. Just a question.

  • Posted by: Ken_H - Sep. 05, 2012 8:01 PM ET USA

    I agree with the other comments - Fr. Groeschel's work spans so many years & topics, and he is such a great priest, so humble, full of the Holy Spirit. I hope that EWTN doesn't completely disregard all of the great years that he devoted to ministry and teaching. I love the idea of them doing a "tribute" by reviewing his book "From Scandal to Hope". He was in the trenches in this fight and he deserves to have his work highlighted in this way. NCR should also devote space for this!

  • Posted by: AgnesDay - Sep. 05, 2012 11:51 AM ET USA

    The program where I first encountered Fr. Groeschel was "You and the God of Mercy." It was a classic. I was struggling to find a way back into the Church, and just when my belly would scrape bottom, he would have a hilarious and edifying show. No one else could pull that off. If EWTN has a shred of loyalty, they will show some of his best work...frequently.

  • Posted by: Flavian - Sep. 05, 2012 11:50 AM ET USA

    Perhaps those Catholics, including EWTN and National Catholic Register staff, who have criticized Fr. Groeschel could re-review Fr. Groeshel's book "From Scandle to Hope" during prime time. The real Fr. Groeshel speaks clearly and cogently in that book regarding the Catholic sex scandle and its roots. How many writers from the National Catholic Register have even read it?

  • Posted by: mgreen32234 - Sep. 05, 2012 9:55 AM ET USA

    I read the interview in the Register. In hindsight, I think it should have been edited more carefully by the paper given that Fr. G. has had 2 strokes in recent years and often struggles to find words. If you've watched the Sunday show in recent years, you know what I mean. Also, I wonder whether if this fall is a final humbling for his next journey --tripping ungracefully off the public stage after a life of gifted preaching, writing and spiritual muscle.

  • Posted by: fwhermann3492 - Sep. 05, 2012 9:11 AM ET USA

    I love Fr. Groeschel and have received inspiration from him many times, but I think EWTN made the right decision. His comments were unacceptable and insensitive to those who have suffered abuse at the hands of men who are supposed to be ambassadors of Christ.

  • Posted by: impossible - Sep. 05, 2012 12:52 AM ET USA

    Sadly, there seems to be no safe havens for orthodox priests faithful to the Magisterium. Republicans and too many in the Catholic Church are too prone to throwing good people under the bus. I can think of a lot of CINOS who should be thrown under the bus, but somehow they escape notice and corrective action. Where is your courage and loyalty EWTN?????

  • Posted by: Caritas - Sep. 04, 2012 11:15 PM ET USA

    Father Groeschel, I was saddened by the news that you'll be leaving EWTN. You will be greatly missed. May God bless you and grant you peace.

  • Posted by: Ken_H - Sep. 04, 2012 7:40 PM ET USA

    Farewell to Fr. Benedict - he is one of the great priests. Unfortunate about the recent situation, I think that some of his remarks were twisted by the news media to fit an agenda, perhaps? He knows of so many things that happened and who knows if there wasn't a case somewhat as he mentioned? Not that it excuses any bad actions taken. I'm keeping Fr. Benedict in my prayers, he has been a great inspiration and blessing to us all!

  • Posted by: florentine - Sep. 04, 2012 7:02 PM ET USA

    FR. Groeschel is a wonderful, holy man who has served the Body of Christ so well. I can't count all the times I'd watch his show, and be renewed in the faith, restored in my own concerns. We are living in a time like none other, where the slip of a word or phrase can go viral and misunderstood in a split second. You have to wonder about this so - called "Christian nation" when forgiveness and understanding is not only mocked, but seemingly forbidden. May God bless you Fr. Groeschel!

  • Posted by: rpp - Sep. 04, 2012 4:53 PM ET USA

    Father Groeschel, you will be greatly missed. May God grant you peace.