Sunday, May 26, 2019
How to Railroad a Good Priest! The Fr. Escalante Saga Goes On!
I've been following the Fr. Escalante situation for some time now. Go here for some background.
Keep in mind that this is NOT a unique situation. Two other diocesan priests were falsely accused and exonerated, but they have never been reassigned. Fr. Chris Buckner and Fr. Michael Duesterhaus are good priests, but, despite exoneration they remain out in the cold. They are able to go to priests meetings and retreats, but when the assignments were posted last week, neither was listed. Fr. Buckner was, however, included not long ago on the list of "credibly accused" priests with no indication that he had been exonerated. Talk about injustice and slander! Fr. Duesterhaus was exonerated months ago, but he too continues to wave in the breeze.
Why? What exactly is going on when a bishop, the "father" of his priests treats his sons this way?
My gut says it's all about appearances. The U.S. bishops have been remiss on so many levels for so many years: covering up abuse, protecting the predators in their own ranks. Their M.O. is to circle the wagons and wrap themselves in "confidentiality" while they pay lip service to openness and transparency. I can't count the number of priests who disappear never to be heard of again and nobody can find out what happened without hiring a private detective. (Where's Columbo when you need him.)
Good priests disappear but inquiries from the faithful result in sanctimonious form responses stressing "confidentiality." The "confidentiality" NEVER benefits the accused priest, however. Rather, it gives cover to the bishop and the bureaucracy. That is certainly what happened to Fr. Haley!
I recently wrote about Fr. Buckner's situation in the Les Femmes winter newsletter in an article called The Slander Scandal. I experienced the same kind of stonewalling the parishioners of St. Francis de Sales are facing when I corresponded with Fr. Scalia, the Vicar for Clergy asking why Fr. Buckner's exoneration wasn't included.
Good priests are being marginalized and even destroyed while priests who flaunt their "gayness" or promote heretical positions are left unmolested and even promoted as paragons of popularity like Fr. James Martin. Several persecuted priest I know ended up with serious medical problems resulting from the stress of their situations. It's truly disgraceful.
I applaud Michael Hichborn of the Lepanto Institute and the parishioners of St. Francis de Sales who are not letting this injustice go unanswered. (Read the article accompanying the video here.) It sounds like the Diocese is on a mission to find people who will play "me too" and join the chorus accusing Fr. Escalante of violating "boundaries." In view of the DRE's effort to solicit accusations, anyone coming forward at this point is suspect. I'd sure want to know whether they are friends of the DRE and his wife!
The tune is off-key. It makes me think of the scripture passage ‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not weep.’ (Luke 7:32) Please pray that the Lord of the Dance will bring justice to this situation and return Fr. Escalante to St. Francis as soon as possible.