Monday, October 7, 2013

What the Hell is Going On? and Neil Diamond, Too

Not long ago I asked, "What would you do?" regarding a predator priest in the archdiocese of St. Paul, who had a long history of sexual misconduct with teen aged boys and who kept a camper on the parking lot of his parish, where he eventually molested two boys who were not yet teens.  Nobody told me what they would do, but Archbishop Nienstadt did nothing.  For this he was praised by conservative Catholics.

Well, there's another scandal in St. Paul, and you can read about it in detail at the Minnesota Public Radio site ... but let me summarize it for you.

  • While a transitional deacon waiting to be ordained to the priesthood, Jon Shelley caught the attention of counselors at a retreat center, who noted that he had trouble keeping proper boundaries with boys, and "wrestled" with some of them in a swimming pool.
  • After being ordained, Fr. Shelley allowed an 18-year-old boy to live in the rectory with him at one point.
  • Thousands of gay pornographic images were discovered on Shelley's computer in 2004, some apparently of boys.
  • Search terms such as "free naked boy pictures" were found on Shelley's computer.
  • When the archdiocese learned of these photos and search terms, they asked Shelley to turn his two other personal computers over to them.  He refused, smashing one with a hammer.
  • Shelley was sent to treatment, but kept in ministry.  Psychologists at the treatment center filed an official report on him that states, "Ample evidence exists for the possibility that Father Shelley has an ongoing problem with compulsive sexual behavior in his Internet pornography use."
  • Many years later, Archbishop Nienstadt was considering assigning Shelley as pastor.  Nienstadt's chancellor for canonical affairs reviews Shelley's file and alerts Nienstadt, and even shows him images saved from Shelley's computer from eight years prior that were clearly child pornography.  Nienstadt drags his feet on the matter for over a year.
  • The chancellor alerts police.  Police show up and request the CDs of the images.  Chancery officials refuse to provide them immediately, stalling for 24 hours.  They eventually provide some sort of CDs that contain no child porn.  The investigator notes, "Whether these discs given to me were the actual discs or copies of those discs after first asking for them, I do not know nor will I most likely ever know,"
  • Fr. Shelley - the aficionado of gay child porn - meanwhile, writes a pissy letter to - get this - Neil Diamond - complaining that Neil Diamond's guitarist had accused him (Fr. Shelley) of "indiscretions with young boys."  Shelley is so upset that he threatens Neil Diamond that he'll never take his mother to a Neil Diamond concert again.  [I am not making this up]
  • When the "Delegate for a Safe Environment" views this letter, he comments that Shelley "did not incriminate himself."


Please keep two things in mind.  Whether you can make a strained case (as Bill Donohue obviously will) that the archbishop is blameless from a narrow legalistic point of view, ask yourself when it comes to Fr. Shelley (as Rod Dreher does), "Who wants to take anything a cretin like that says about Jesus seriously?"

And read this poem, written by a victim of sexual abuse inflicted by a priest, and ask yourself if any decent person in his right mind would risk exposing an innocent child to this, regardless of how narrowly rules and regulations can be interpreted ... 

The darkness is nothing new to me.
It sometimes lightens,
as if there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
But always, always it returns.
A tweak in the medicine here. A new way of thinking there.
A new way of facing God or dealing with spiritually.

Suicide is always knocking at my door
Beckoning me to experience relief
From the pain no one else can
I fight it.
Sometimes better than others.

The impulse to run is there.
Run where?
Don't know.
Away. Alone.
Free from pain. But it will follow.

Why do I have the honor of this pain?
Is God calling me to something more
Of which I am unable to grasp?
I feel alone on an island.
Without human help.
Without godly help.
Nothing works.

I just want to sleep.  Forever.


Anonymous said...

How do these guys make into the seminary? How do they end up getting ordained?

Dr. Eric

Kevin O'Brien said...

Eric, the only answer I can come up with is any actual belief in God has been abandoned; the empty shell of an unmarried all-male culture that exists to serve a God that no one believes in anymore serves only as a cover for this kind of behavior. The false culture these men assert becomes a mask that protects the real culture of homosexual license and sex with children. I really think, in many cases, it's literally that bad.

This is not to say that no priest or bishop is sincerely Christian, but a pretend culture now protects a true culture of unbelievable depravity.

This also explains liturgical abuse and lay Catholics who don't know who Jesus Christ is in any except the most superficial of ways. A true Catholic culture would not bear such fruit. Hypocrisy rotten to the core would.