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Wednesday, April 24, 2019

The Fr. Escalante Tale Goes On...

...and it's beginning to feel like Tales from the Crypt. Check out the offices of the PR bureaucracy at the Diocese of Arlington:

Not sure who the guy in the coffin is....What do you think?

If you haven't been following the saga up to now, go here and here.

The story continues and the diocese, as is so typical in these days of wagon-circling and stonewalling, gives out as little information as possible. If they can only hang on, the patsies in the pew will forget about it. Will Fr. Escalante return? So often they don't no matter how innocent and exonerated. Pray hard for Fr. Escalante.

This is so reminiscent of what happened to Fr. James Haley. The diocese, under Bishop Loverde, threatened the Washington Times with lawsuits and the paper stopped covering the story. Of course, a decade later, all the cover ups began unraveling and Fr. Haley is recognized as a prophet. Little good that did to his vocation as a priest which lies in shatters.

My suspicious self says the diocese's fear of bad publicity is less about fear of damage to the faith and more about the fear of losing the almighty dollar.  What a disaster if the BLA and the parish collection basket come back empty.

But let's move on. I received an email this morning from a member of the parish who wrote to Fr. Scalia, Vicar for Clergy, particularly expressing concern about the theft from the parish and asking if the former DRE will be held accountable. Here's the response (or should I say non-response) the parishioner received from Fr. Scalia who, according to members of the parish is a personal friend of the alleged thief. By the way, the article is back up at the Blue Ridge Leader (Thank you, Valerie Cury!):

Confidentiality and professional ethics keep the Diocese of Arlington from publicly disclosing all information related to allegations against Father Ron Escalante. This is done out of respect for alleged victims as well as for Father Escalante.

The article titled “New Revelations in the Father Escalante Saga” by Valerie Cury that was previous published in the Blue Ridge Leader has been taken down. Unfortunately, it did cause confusion and concern among some of the faithful. Given that it negatively characterized an alleged victim, who is a minor, through information provided by a third-party source and utilized only unnamed sources, we agree that it was the right decision to unpublish the story.
The Diocese of Arlington has provided parishioners of St. Francis de Sales Church as much information regarding Father Escalante’s status as confidentiality reasonably permits.  As has been noted in past communications, there is an ongoing internal investigation of allegations and, out of respect for the reputation and good name of Father Escalante and individuals who have come forward, the Diocese of Arlington is limited in the amount of information it can provide publicly at this time. 

Finally, as regards the previous article’s unsubstantiated allegation of financial irregularities at St. Francis de Sales Parish, the Diocese of Arlington receives and thoroughly investigates any such reports, with due regard for those who report irregularities either anonymously or by identifying themselves to the Diocese. 

Be assured of my prayers during these sacred days.

Sincerely in Christ,

Fr. Scalia

Reverend Paul Scalia
Episcopal Vicar for Clergy
Director of the Permanent Diaconate Formation Program
Office of Clergy

Catholic Diocese of Arlington
200 North Glebe Road, Suite 901
Arlington, VA 22203
Please share these posts with everyone you know in the Diocese of Arlington. The bishops talk a lot about transparency but it's only when the laity demand it and expose the scandals that there will be any transparency at all. According to a member of the parish, the story going around is that Fr. Escalante was sent to a facility in Texas where he will be programmed to deal with these parish problems. Isn't it interesting that it's always the innocent who are seen to need treatment? The first thing that comes to my mind is the re-education camps and the gulags.


  1. Actually, I think the BRL article cleared up a lot of confusion for parishioners! And I wonder if what Fr Scalia meant to say was the article negatively characterized the diocese and bishop’s office.

  2. How could any Catholic father and mother pressure their daughter into lying about a good priest? Don't these parents believe in hell? (FYI - it's REAL and sinners go there.)

    Using the parish's resources to save money for their own (non-profit?) organization? Why couldn't the girl's father have admitted it and paid the parish what he owed....or at least given the parish several boxes of paper to pay back what he used.

    But to cover his sin, he got the daughter to lie about Fr Escalante? How low can a person be?
    Judas springs to mind!

    1. It was not the girl’s father using parish resources. It was the DRE. And the DRE is the one who recruited families to make allegations against Fr E.

  3. It’s my understanding that Father is now back home from the “treatment” center, and still very much desires to return to the parish, despite the bishop's most recent letter stating that Father was taking a “leave of absence” from the parish to “pray and discern” God’s will.

  4. Sorry for the misunderstanding, Susan.

    The girl's dad is really hardly in the picture at all. It was the mom, the DRE, and the associate pastor who seemed to be working together. Clearly the DRE was soliciting people to accuse Fr. Escalante. The question is whether the associate pastor was part of the scheme. I hope not, but the mom is at the parish with Fr. Mullaney a lot according to parishioners.

    The diocese needs to really investigate this issue before there is a bigger scandal than already exists! If I were the bishop I would definitely move the associate pastor.

  5. Sorry...I did not realize it was not the DRE's daughter. But regardless, why would any Catholic parents do this to a good priest ....and to their daughter by forcing her to lie? WHAT DID THEY HAVE TO GAIN? Are they working for the DRE's company?

    If the diocese knows that the DRE was soliciting people into this evil scheme, why do they then not know that Fr Escalante is innocent?

    The DRE's company needs to be investigated. It's a 501c3 non profit? BTW - the Apopka (Florida) Call to Action liberal nuns have a similar farm project.


      The former DRE has been removed from the “Our Team” section.

  6. Has anyone from the parish asked the diocese if they are investigating James Blankenship and his unauthorized use of the copy machine to the tune of thousands of dollars in order to promote his St. Isidore garden project?

    1. Sounds like Fr. Scalia “answered” that in your post.

  7. I would have said he avoided answering it. It's unclear whether they are actually investigating it. Which reminds me of a case under Bishop Loverde. A priest at a rural parish and the bookkeeper reported an irregularity with the books of the previous pastor I think and the priest was moved. That's how Loverde dealt with bad news. Kill the messenger. In this case, unlike Fr. Haley, the priest's vocation survived.

  8. I knew Fr Haley, he was a complete kook. If he’s your golden boy, then your in big trouble.

  9. Depends on your definition of kook. If being a faithful son of the Church with great devotion to the Eucharist and Blessed Mother makes you a kook, I agree. But maybe, Jay, you are the one who's a kook. Possible?

  10. Jay, whoever you are, you could not have known Fr. Haley. Everyone at St. John the Beloved in McLean thought he was an exemplary priest. I think you need to explain your diagnosis to the rest of us who knew him perhaps better than you.

  11. Maybe Saint Francis deal Sales practitioners can gather outside the bishop's residence and peacefully pray the Rosary and Divine Mercy Chalet one Sunday.

  12. My first thought when reading this is that Fr Scalia disgraced his father's memory.

  13. Unlike civil law, which is based upon English common law, canon law is based on old Roman law. For the latter, there is a greater role for a certain discretion during proceedings. Imagine if you petitioned for a declaration of nullity for a putative marriage (which is another subject for another day). Would you want the testimonies to be published? Probably not. The same process is used by the church, a legal system predating even the Magna Carta.

    Father Scalia gave the only answer he was capable of giving, and in so doing, disgraced the memory of no one.

    As to the matter in Purcellville, one priest-friend of mine in another diocese has vouched for Father Escalante's good character, and that's good enough for me.