13 April 2010

No Surprise Here - Dissident Priest Calls for Pope's Resignation

In news that is hardly surprising it seems that Fr. James Scahill the Springfield, MA priest who in his Divine Mercy Sunday homily called for the Pope's resignation is a dissenter from Church teaching.  He believes that priests should be married and that the Church shouldn't be lobbying against same-sex marriage.

In 2004 he received the Priest Of Integrity award from VOTF, Voice of the Faithful,  in New England for his work in reporting the cover up of sexual abuse cover up in the Diocese of Springfield.  Ironically in a deposition he gave in 2003 he was asked the following questions by an attorney of the Diocese in regarding to then Bishop Dupre.  His statements are as follows:
Q. Have any so-called or alleged victims of clergy sexual abuse by anyone ever come to you?
A. Yes.

Q. On what occasion?
A. On what occasion?

Q. On what occasion for the first time, yes. Was it more than one or just once?
A. There were a couple back in 1991. And since - since June of last year there have been probably a half a dozen that have spoken with me in person and I have received several phone calls and I've had phone conversations with several victims.

Q. Let's start with the ones in 1991 if we can; what occurred with regard to those persons?
A. Just coming in and just chatting, coming in and just talking. That's all.

Q. Did you refer any of them to any authorities, either district attorney's office or other office?
A. I told them, in that we were not mandated reporters at the time, I told them they should go to the Diocese or to the police. And I also in some instances told them they should go and get some therapy.

Q. And did you give them any particulars as to where to go and to whom?
A. No, I didn't. I simply said the priest or the Diocese and in some instances; I'm not a therapist. I'm willing to talk, but you sometimes have to take them to another step and there were instances when I encouraged people to go and get some therapy.

Q. And those initial one or two persons, was that before or after the misconduct commission was established?
A. I believe so; it was before because I don't believe the misconduct committee was established prior to 1991.

Q. Did you ever contact anyone in the Diocese about these individuals?
A. No.

Q. Did you ever inform anyone in the Diocese that some individuals had come to you alleging that they had been victims of abuse by priests of the Diocese?
A. I have spoken to that of late.

Q. I'm talking about '91 or '92?
A. Okay. The Diocese never came to me. I was a young pastor. They never came to me asking how I was doing because it was like a hailstorm there for a couple of months. I thought it peculiar the Diocese never came to me. I have a support network of friends and I guess I fed off of their support during those couple of months of some difficult sessions.

Q. I'm trying to establish, Father Scahill, what you did. Was it more than one person back in '91, '92?
A. Yes.

Q. Were these both male victims?
A. Male.

Q. How many were there approximately?
A. Two.

Q. With regard to those two persons that came to you complaining that they had been victims of sexual abuse, other than telling them where they might report in the Diocese or where they might report to the police or criminal authorities, what did you do to those individuals by way of contacting yourself anyone in the Diocese?
A. Well, I gave them time. I apologized in the name of the church and the priests that they claimed. I just tried to be supportive to them. I just tried to help them.

Q. Well, what did you do to report those two names -
A. I didn't report them.

Q. Please let me finish. Let me finish, Father Scahill, and then you may respond fully.
A. I'm sorry.

Q. What did you do, if anything, to report the identity of those persons to the Diocese at that time?
A. These people were struggling with the whole issue. I simply encouraged them to do what I encouraged them to do. What they did or did not do was their choice.

Q. Did you do anything to make the Diocese aware of the existence of these two men?
A. I did not, because they came to me in confidence.
Now it is strange that this priest who excuses his own behavior from 10-12 years earliers because there was no formal requirements or policies in place is quick to condemn others for similar actions even earlier than that and those with even less direct involvement in a situation.  It seems that Fr. Scahill to his credit has done some worthy work helping survivors of clergy sexual abuse and exposing some of the perpretrators but his call for the Pope to resign is ridiculous

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