CORRECTION: According to a friend in the Diocese of Wheeling who called me this morning, Bishop Schmitt did not return Fr. Wash to active ministry. He removed him from the active priesthood after the arrest. Whether he was suspended or just given a "get out of Dodge" order, I don't know. Obviously he wasn't laicized to prevent him ever returning to active ministry. Did Schmitt report him to higher ups including the Apostolic Nuncio? I don't know. Sending him for a counseling degree may have been an "act of charity" according to my friend, so Wash could make a living outside the priesthood. (Not so charitable for the young men he might be counseling.) Garbage collector or car mechanic would have been better with fewer temptations. How many garbage collectors and mechanics are alone with their "clients?"
My friend says it was Bransfield who returned Wash to ministry five or six years ago because of the shortage of priests in Wheeling. The lavender mafia in the chancery may have lobbied for his return. (They do tend to stick together.) All of this could be resolved by looking at a biography of Fr. Wash: his assignments and history. He's listed as a licensed therapist in Clarksburg, WV.
I apologize posthumously to Bishop Schmitt for saying he returned Wash to ministry, although that's where Wash ended up. I'm having a Mass said for the repose of Bishop Schmitt's soul in atonement. As for Fr. Wash. I pray for his public repentance and public repudiation of the homosexual lifestyle. And I continue to believe that people have a right to know who the homosexuals in the priesthood are so they can keep their children as far away as possible. Homosexuality is disordered and distorts the way one looks at life. I once saw a video taken by an Arlington priest, Fr. William Ehrbacher, traveling in Rome with his homosexual buddies. He photographed the genitals of the little naked cherub statues in the cathedrals. Ehrbacher was removed from ministry but his buddies are still active priests in the Diocese of Arlington. No one who suffers from the homosexual disorder should wear a Roman collar any more than an alcoholic should work as a bartender. When will bishops call for their homosexual priests to step down? They are living in a daily occasion of sin surrounded by their gay cronies and young altar boys and junior priests to whom they may be attracted. Pray for Pat Wash and for all his disordered clerical brothers and for the bishops who allow this to continue.
Back in October, Nabi wrote a blog post about Fr. Pat Wash, a retired priest of the Diocese of Wheeling, who continues to serve on an ad hoc basis filling in when and where he's needed.
Back in 1992, Fr. Wash was arrested for indecent assault and resisting arrest in Pennsylvania (Washington County near the West Virginia border). He solicited an undercover cop for oral sex. Sorry to be so graphic, but that's the fact of the matter. You can read the arrest report at the linked post above.
So what did the diocese, then headed by Bishop Schmitt, do? Sent him off to St. Louis for "treatment" then welcomed him back to the diocese and let the flock pay for him to pursue a degree in counseling at WVU. Makes sense right? Send a sexual deviant to school so he can counsel others including the young. But doesn't that fit the M.O. of how dioceses handled these things. Send the miscreants away and then move them around when they get back. And keep the flock in the dark. Hey, what they don't know can't hurt them, right?
Dioceses talk a lot about openness and transparency but go on the Wheeling Diocesan website and try to find Fr. Wash's history. Or to the diocesan newspaper. The only thing you can find is a page in the directory with address and contact information.
Where was he in 1992 when the arrest took place? Were parishioners told? What other parishes did he serve? In view of the fact he was sent away, I suspect the diocese worked a deal with the prosecutor. This is something the AG should check out for sure. What kind of backroom activity was going on with all the accused priests? What was the relationship between the diocese and law enforcement?
But I'm going to shift gears here and talk about background checks for a moment. Since 2002 and the Dallas meeting, laity are required in many places to be fingerprinted and scrutinized by law enforcement because, of course, we all know that abuse happens in families and little old grandmothers teaching CCD can be a real threat to children in the classroom. The bishops excused themselves from any oversight in Dallas and shifted the microscope to parish priests and the laity, primarily the laity. After all, if you can make them responsible for reporting problems, you can blame them if things go wrong. "Hey, those lay people are the mandatory reporters and they didn't do their job!"
Now let's suppose you're a layman who wants to work with the youth group in your parish or, say, train the altar boys. The diocese does a background check and finds that you have an arrest for soliciting homosexual sex at a truck stop on I-79. Oh, it happened a long time ago you assure the pastor when he questions you about it, and, of course, it was age-appropriate. "No problem," you tell the pastor, "I'm a changed man."
Do you think for a minute this layman would be allowed to work with the youth in the parish? Would the pastor take that risk?
I sure hope not!
I'm a master catechist. I taught in religious ed programs for years. Then the game playing began with the VIRTUS program that tells the laity homosexuality is not a problem. Ironically, the training video I reviewed showed a young man talking about abusing younger boys. Huh? Homosexuality is not a problem.? The program refuted its own proposition. Talk about "doublethink!"
Anyway, I refused to play the game, so I'm banned despite twenty years of teaching.
Would the layman with the abuse record get a thumbs up if he agreed to go to the VIRTUS program? Would his homosexual solicitation history be considered no-problemo?
Only if the pastor is a nutcase (or a homosexual)!
Ask yourself some serious questions about Fr. Wash:
Does he have a stash of porn on his computer or in the rectory closet? Does he look at child porn?
Does he engage in immoral same sex activities with himself and/or others?
Does he seek opportunities to work with children and be alone with them?
In view of his history, does the diocese engage in any kind of oversight of his behavior?It may be politically incorrect to say so, but homosexuals are notorious for having multiple partners, taking incredible risks, and for engaging in other immoral activities like embezzling and drug and alcohol abuse. They are also incredible narcissists and often are showmen who love the limelight. Just look at the video from pride parades. Exhibitionism is rampant.
That is certainly indicated in the funeral video below taken at the 2015 funeral of Fr. Karl Wohinc. Fr. Wash is hilarious. He begins with a story that focuses on himself and is at the center of almost every anecdote. Take particular note: Does he ever ask for prayers for the deceased priest? No. The homily is more about himself as a stand up comic than about Fr. Wohinc.
Let me be clear. Every one of us is a sinner. Every one of us can repent by the grace of God. But a person's past involvement in serious, egregious, disordered sexual acts is a huge red flag when it comes to the safety of children and vulnerable adults. That the diocese allowed Pat Wash to return to ministry after his arrest is irresponsible, but it's what they do! The children aren't really the most important people to be protected. What they really care about (in order of importance) is, 1) protecting the bishop, 2) protecting the perception of the Church, and 3) protecting the clergy brotherhood. If you look at the clergy sex abuse scandals in that light and all the machinations involved, it makes perfect sense.
Let's pray that the truth is all brought out of the darkness and into the light. Sunshine is a great disinfectant.