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« Bishop Brown takes the stand | Main | Laura Ingraham: Power To The People »

Friday, September 14, 2007

Comments

Gustavo Arellano

The PR contract was for much more than $90,000--Read my article on the subject. As noted in the 2004 article, then-diocesan spokesperson Joseph Fenton didn't deny the $360,000 figure I asked them to confirm. And Brown's failure to disclose is old news: I figured it out five months ago.

RobK

What can we expect? Here is what his lawyer had to say about him in a press release (from an OC Register article on the topic). The emphasis is added:

"'Bishop Tod D. Brown ... is today widely recognized by Catholics and those of other faith communities as a progressive church leader committed to transparency and accountability,' the statement released by Lilyengren said."

Perhaps if he was less "progressive" and more "faithful"....

Patrick

There may be other accusers coming forward. This may be the beginning of the end for this bishop's tenure.

Andrzej

Gustavo Arellano certainly was ahead of the rest of the media on this story. It was picked up on this and other blogs, but why didn't the major dailies report it? And how about those stories about our illustrious bishop's real estate holdings. Why would selected priests be rewarded with homes in gated communities when they should be living on site at their parishes? What on earth would these priests be getting rewarded for -- their ability to wink and keep a secret?

Fr. Chris Heath

What does "transparency" mean? Why should the Bishop, or anyone for that matter, have to reveal a false accusation from decades ago? Only public and proven crime is anyone's "right to know." "Transparency" does not mean "no right to privacy." Bishop does not need to be blamed for witholding this information, or for trying to keep Msgr. Urell's private mental and physical condition from public display. How would YOU like it if your private employment records were public knowledge, or your medical records, or any bad thing anyone ever said about you (true or false)?
I think the Covenant with the Faithful was a goofy idea, and like the cartoon shows, it has come back to Bishop in ways he never anticipated. "Transparency" was the wrong word to use--it implies a level of revelation that has no limit. It may be only semantics now, but "accountability" would have been a better word.

Atlanta Catholic

Thanks for letting parents know that a Catholic priest has a new definition of the word "Transparency"! It's only if you get "caught" defense. I'm sorry Father but that is what it sounds like. You have not helped the matter. Your heart and loyalty may be the reason that you would dare to defend this lie. This Bishop is held to a higher standard. Changing the meaning of the word transparency is just inexcusable.

Ask the other priests that Bishop Tod Brown exposed, who may have also been falsely accused. The Bishop had no problem with their transparency. I won't even mention their names out of respect. Where is the wisdom from our priests? This excuse for Bishop Brown only fuels the knowledge that parents can never trust their children in this Diocese and many others.

Im sorry Father Heath, but your response is out of touch with a multi-million dollar payout for priests who molested. I hope you take the time out of your busy schedule to write to the Bishop and purchase a dictionary to dicover the definition of the word "Transparent"! Then we might usher in the real era of openness!

Fr. Chris Heath

Atlanta: It sounds like you agree that false accusations should not be exposed? If this is the case, then "transparent" doesn't include false accusations? That's my point: "transparency" implies more than anyone would want revealed. I know priests wrongly accused who have not been exposed: should they have been? I hope not!

Andrzej

Father Chris,

I think an earlier posting from May 2, 2007 on this blog will answer some of your questions. Bishop Brown threw other accused priests under the bus -- in the spirit of openness, of course -- but didn't disclose the allegation lodged against himself.

The Big Brown Bus: Why Were Other Accused Priests Thrown Under The Bus?

http://romancatholicblog.typepad.com/roman_catholic_blog
/2007/05/the_big_brown_b.html

A Simple Sinner

Or 4 years, 2 months, 1 day excluding the end date till he reaches 75.

Can we survive that long?

"than the $90,000 he reportedly paid to the public relations firm who helped him cook up the idea of emulating Martin Luther by nailing that Covenant to his cathedral door "

Am I the only one who thinks the "Martin Luther" imitation was in POOR taste?

Am I the only one who thinks he spent about $90,000 more on that project than he should have?

Don't parishes in the D of O have weekly bulletins or montly newsletters? Don't they have a website? Don't they have a diocesan newspaper?

If you live in Orange, talk to your pastor about making paying a specific bill or ear marking your donation. Don't give one red cent that can be used for garbage like that.

Offer to pay the electric bill, the water bill, buy the hosts and altar wine for the parish. Buy groceries, toilet paper and toothpaste for the priest.

But don't waste one penny with garbage like that.

Patrick

I have some questions for the lawyers out there. If the police do an investigation, doesn't the matter become public? If any of us were to be questioned or investigated for an alleged crime wouldn't it be a matter of public record. Reporters are always digging into records to learn of these sorts of things. Politicians are usually the targets. Also, aren't most court proceedings a matter of public record? Isn't the bishop asking for special treatment when he asks for the testimony to be sealed?

Michael Teissere

Dear Fr. Heath, What you say about Bishop Brown covering up my cousin, ex priest Fr. Rod Stephens living with his homosexual partner and acting as master of ceremonies at a "womans" ordination so he Fr. Rod Stephens can work in the diocese at $300.00 plus an hour for his "expertise" in liturgical design? I don't trust Bishop Brown at all after my wife and I went to him concerning Fr. Rod Stephens. We trusted Bishop Brown would do the right thing and remove Fr. Rod Stephens and restore Catholic teaching to my family which have been and still are being mislead by Fr. Rod. Bishop Brown and his priest secretary at that time Fr. Mckiernan and his cannon lawyer Fr. Douglas Cook intimidated my wife and I and tricked us into signing a secret oath of the homosexual lifestyle of my cousin Fr. Rod Stephens. This secret oath of homosexual lifestyle has Bishop Todd Browns full approval and blessing! So I know Bishop Brown is very capable of covering up things, he intimidates and uses people inocence "trust" in authority to keep his power! By the way just last week Bishop Tod Brown told me that Rod Stephens is a Catholic in good standing while saying he is fully aware of Rod Stephens living in an open homosexual lifestyle and partaking in "womens" ordinations! That tells me Fr. Heath, Bishop Brown condones and blesses sodomony and "women catholic priestess" Fr. Heath I don't expect support from you. Frankly most priests in the diocese are afraid of Bishop Browns wrath, afraid their skeletons will be used aginst them , or just are down right cruel men who couldn't give a rats ass about the Catholic Faith! These maybe harsh words to say, but what Bishop Brown has done to my wife and I was spiritual rape! If you don't believe me Father email me , we could go to lunch and I will be happy to show you the confidental letter Fr. Cook sent me revealing the secret oath meeting and the other two meetings with Bishop Brown. We also had a civil attorney for the purpose of protecting our name and the truth we were speaking about. Maybe you would like him too join us for lunch and explain what happened. Bishop Brown does have people who think and behave like him in the secular world. He has some men working in congregations at the Vatican, but one day Bishop Brown will have to face our Lord Jesus Christ. We pray for Bishop Browns conversion to the Catholic Faith or his quick removal from the diocese as we pray for all the priests in the Church.

Thomistic

Fr. Heath,

Would it be wrong to say that Bishop Brown violated the Golden Rule by revealing the allegations against other priests, but withholding those made against himself?

Do any of the men Bishop Brown revealed to be accused of sexual misconduct still claim innocence and/or insist that they have been falsely accused?

If so, how is that much different than Bishop Brown's assertion of his own innocence? I'm not suggesting Bishop Brown is guilty of sexual misconduct in the one known alleged instance. I'm merely suggesting that Bishop Brown was wrong to promise things he had no intention of delivering.

It's my own feeling that Bishop Brown revealed the names he revealed out of political expediency, and not out of any sense that it was the right thing to do. I think that because, until lots of people cared and the heat was on, Bishop Brown kept these things close to his vest.

I believe, very strongly, that Bishop Brown is a very political animal. I think he's basically a very worldly, liberal (or "progressive") Catholic bishop. I think he's Clintonesque in that he has his own agenda, but that agenda can be shifted if he senses public opinion has changed when he licks his finger and puts it to the wind.

I am sad that Bishop Brown is what he is, and I am even sadder to know that many Catholics refuse to see what he is, make excuses for what he is, or even love what he is, instead of seeing that Bishop Brown's goals, however in step with the times, are out of step with the mind of Christ and His Church.

Bishop Brown was ordained in the 1960's in an era when many priests were poorly schooled in philosophy, theology, Sacred Scripture, traditional spirituality and the like, and instead trained as social workers with little sense of the supernatural. With such poor formation, the liberal ideas of society quickly invade and take root in the mind, which the often well-intentioned priest or seminarian re-interprets as the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Hence, rather than discussions of personal sin, eternal salvation or damnation, grace, original sin, etc., the priest is only able to talk about the standard social "sins" of the day: racism, sexism, "homophobia", pollution, etc.

True to the maxim that one cannot give what he does not have, these poorly trained priests and bishops may sincerely want to help their flock, but are ill equipped to do so. They deliver fluffy homilies devoid of content; offer appallingly bad advice in the confessional, particularly in the area of sexual morality; wonder, sometimes publicly, when the Church is going to give up Her medieval views and become more in touch with the needs of 21st century Catholics; spend countless hours watching television, going to movies and indulging in other entertainments without making an effort to grow in personal holiness, thus being little different than anyone else in society; and are reduced to little more than professional nice guys who make little or no impact on the lives of their parishioners.

Some, like Bishop Brown, are so committed to their progressive values that they see expressions of traditional piety or "Conservative Catholicism" or orthodoxy as a threat to the brave new world they want Catholics to discover – a world where ignorance, rationalization, and moral ambiguity have achieved the status of sacraments that will save people, because nobody can know the truth for sure and nobody can judge, and we all all assured that, somehow, God's love will save us, no matter what we might choose to do or how we choose to live. So they sneer at piety and lament the existence of things like the Baltimore Catechism (reacting to them much the same way a vampire reacts to a crucifix), and they believe, with all their hearts, that conservative Catholics and traditional Catholics are dangerous and must either be re-educated or marginalized to the point that they're driven out, either literally, or at least to the point that they rendered ineffective because they are considered rigid, inflexible, intolerant, unstable, and not worthy of trust, sensitivity, or respect.

Lacking a sense of purpose and mission, and never trained to maintain intense prayer lives, these brave new priests and bishops can fall victim to a variety of personal sins and end up unhappy and disillusioned. While this is certainly not universally true among diocesan priests, because some are self-taught and provide excellent role models despite the corrupted system, it is a widespread problem among the priesthood in the era in which Tod Brown finds himself a bishop.

As for Bishop Brown himself, in my opinion, he's self-serving, profligate and corrupt. He lives the lifestyle of a millionaire and wastes money on public relations campaigns. He lies, or at best, he goes back on his words, as with the Covenant With The Faithful. He protected Fr. Cesar Salazar. He continues to support Rod Stephens. He endorsed homosexual domestic partnerships in a FAX to all of his priests.

In my opinion, Bishop Brown's sympathy for homosexual rights (which is documented here, and throughout Roman Catholic Blog) is rooted in more than Christian compassion. He's gone out of his way to support homosexuality and those living homosexual lifestyles, both here and when he was the Bishop of Boise. When the Vatican issued the document on seminarians with homosexual tendencies, Bishop Brown sent a letter to all his priests saying that homosexual priests are good. I'm sure you read that letter, didn't you, Father Heath?

I don't know if Bishop Brown has a relative or close friend who has strong homosexual tendencies, or if Bishop Brown has them himself, but there seems to be something there, and I wish it wasn't a violation of the rules of political correctness to ask why homosexuality is so dear to Bishop Tod Brown's heart.

It certainly would explain his empathy for a priest like Fr. Cesar Salazar, wouldn't it?

I know that some priests with homosexual tendencies can be faithful and even good priests, but not if they endorse lifestyle choices contrary to Catholic moral teaching or lead others to believe that Catholic morality is a matter of personal conscience which doesn't require conforming to the ordinary (or extraordinary) Magisterium.

I believe, strongly, that the evidence from the John Jay Study demonstrates that the abuse scandals predominantly involved homosexual acts with boys past the age of puberty. All the literature I've read says that pedophiles only target children before puberty, and most don't have a gender preference.

Political correctness has caused the scandals to be called pedophilia scandals (or, more generically, sex abuse scandals), but few in the mainstream have acknowledged that 80.9% of the victims were boys and most of those boys were past puberty, making it primarily a pederasty scandal. The minority of cases involving true pedophilia and/or the abuse of girls were used as a shield to continue to cover up the fact that a lot of priests have strong homosexual tendencies because they were allowed in seminaries by lax and/or agenda driven seminary gatekeepers (and many of them may have been homosexual) and, as a result, a lot of homosexual ephebophiles (pederasts) were thereby admitted to the Sacrament of Holy Orders.

I think the scandals were, in large part, caused by or perpetuated (through cover-ups and priest shuffling) by, homosexual priests and bishops, who had sexual weaknesses themselves (whether they acted on them or not, though we now know many bishops did, see here and here). These men covered up the scandals. I think the motive may have been a mixture of empathy because of their own struggles, and possibly fear, since they didn't want rank and file Catholics to know how widespread homosexuality was within the Catholic clergy.

Doesn't it upset you, as a priest, that so many of your fellow priests do little to teach the Catholic Faith? Doesn't it bother you that so many Catholics are so poorly catechized? Doesn't it bother you that innocent priests are lumped in with unfaithful ones? Doesn't it upset you that your brother priests so frequently flout liturgical norms? Doesn't it bother you that Bishop Brown ignores those things, but cracks down on people for kneeling after the Lamb of God at St. Mary's by the Sea? Doesn't it bother you to know that some of your brother priests are unfaithful to their calling, whether that be through failures in chastity or in leading others into error?

Fr. Heath, I have personally encountered eleven priests who turned out to be homosexual men who abused teenaged boys. Some of them ministered to me when I was a teenager. I was never abused, thank God, but I was given appallingly bad advice in the confessional by some of these men (and others who are still priests in good standing in the Diocese of Orange).

I am troubled by the fact that I know many priests know bad things are happening and that error is being spread and they are simply silent, perhaps out of fear, or maybe there are other motives I don't understand. Meanwhile, countless souls are led into error, while countless priests live and act in a manner that is difficult to distinguish from the morally confused laity they are supposed to be shepherding.

You have to know these things are going on, Fr. Heath. I'm not making these things up.

I'm tired of seeing all of this continue with no end in sight. People complain about not seeing an end to the war in Iraq, but the war I'm describing has been going on much longer than the Iraq war, and most Catholics, priests included, don't seem to care that much. Progressive priests and bishops know that and have been allowed to count on it for too long.

There was a recent backlash when congress tried to pass comprehensive immigration reform. Enough people cared and the bill was killed.

Enough people cared about sexual abuse by priests and religious and things changed, not perfectly, but much needed reforms finally took place and offenders could no longer hide behind clericalism to conceal their abuse of the faithful.

If all Catholics banded together with faithful Evangelicals, we could end legal, elective abortion. Yet the bishops won't help galvanize them and bishops like Tod Brown and Cardinal Mahony spend more time reaching out to support and defend homosexuality and secure tolerance of that lifestyle than they do to end the abortion holocaust. Doesn't that seem strange to you, Fr. Heath?

We can be salt, or we can be salt that has lost its flavor, which Our Lord said was worthless and deserved to be thrown out in the street to be trodden under men's feet.

I don't know if you've read this, but it's worth reading: A Few Blunt Words To Catholics

How is the Diocese of Orange a better place than it was when Bishop Tod Brown was installed?

What can we do about it?

Pax,

Thomistic

Atlanta Catholic

Father Chris,

The standard of honesty for a Catholic Bishop must be exemplary. If you were attending an A.A. program, you would be called an enabler. I'd love you to be my drinking buddy but I'd never improve. It was Bishop Tod Brown who paid thousands of dollars to use the word "Transparent". No one forced him to hang himself. G.K. Chesterton said, "When man abandons the supernatural,in a short while his actions become unnatural". It should be unnatural for a solid, good Bishop to turn to a public relations firm for guidance. Bishop Brown has all of the resources of grace from the treasury of our faith to turn to. That is where the answers are. Do you know why hasn't used them? He hasn't used them because he has his own ideas about Church Teaching. Bishop Brown thinks he is wiser than the Church. This is exactly what happens when you pretend to be something that might cost you a price. The price he will now pay is that he looks dishonest and it makes Catholics wonder all the more about his innocence.


Bishop Brown is responsible for this poor leadership. He is a grown man who needs correction along with prayer. Defending his actions only enables him to make more poor choices. I feel the main reason that he has made such poor choices stem from his own disobedience to Church Teaching. Bishop Brown is a prime example of what happens to the elilte when they abandon the faith to promote an ill fated agenda. They find themselves turning to public relation firms instead of God. Turning to men abandons the supernatural asistance and grace that would be abundant if Bishop Brown was solid. He is not solid and he is treading water. He needs God's Grace to help him. As long as he keeps saying my way or the highway to God, he will continue to sink without a lifeboat.

First of all, just because accusations are not proved does not make them false. There has to be enough evidence to move forward. A Catholic Bishop who is foolish enough to buy a public relations smokescreen called a Covenant to be "open and transparent", better just be that...TRANSPARENT...nothing to hide. If it's not true that he molested, then why was he afraid to be transparent? Please don't say that people did not need to know. Look at the outcome. Bishop Brown looks very bad. It should not be a foreign concept for a Roman Catholic Bishop to know that "honesty is the best policy". Also, to not do unto others, (by exposing them) what you are unwilling to do to yourself. Simple golden rule.

Bishop Brown protected a priest in our Diocese who was known to have child pornography on his laptop. The Bishop's secretary at the time admitted that this priest had "sexual immaturities". That is another example of changing the definition of the word "perversion". Haggling over the true meaning of the meaning of transparent is just as ridiculous as "sexual immaturities" (when describing the viewing of small children in horrific, pornographic images). The only reason that this priest was not charged was an exchange of ownership of the laptop. The perverted sites had the priest's name on them. Due to the circumstances the F.B.I and local authority decided not to prosecute. Not because it was a falsehood, but the difficulty once the laptop had been purchased by a new owner. This priest was allowed to be around small school children for more than a year. Bishop Brown did nothing to remove the priest from harming little ones. A woman at the parish reported the fact that this priest use to come into the church with his camera and take pictures of all the little ones. She had never seen a priest take such an interest in
photographing little children with his camera. This priest was not charged but the smoke was there. Why did the FBI have to wake up Bishop Brown before he took action. He ignored it for over a year after he was warned. Bishop Brown can't blame Bishop McFarland for that one.

Once again, Bishop Brown had no problem exposing other priests who were accused but not charged. Many serial killers are suspected and discussed but the evidence is not there. No charges can be made until solid evidence shows up. That does not make the person innocent, and the accusations falsehoods. What is good for the goose works both ways. It takes supernatural grace to "Be Not Afraid"!

How sad for Catholics that bad shepherds continue to misrepresent Christ's True Church! Please Pope Benedict, discipline these bad shepherds. They are a cancerous scourge that needs purging!

Fr. Chris Heath

All this stuff you described in such detail--I've never known it. The most I've known is the fact that these things happened or exist, but not with the details you describe. When you add it all together it does not make for a pretty picture, that's for sure. Parish priests are not complicit in this stuff: we're not briefed, given talking poiints, or even warned about stuff before it happens. "Codependent" is hardly a word I would use to describe myself, thank you very much.
I'm sorry I identified myself as a priest; the last thing I want is to be the target of everyone's ire, as though I have anything to do with any of this. I guess I thought a little "transparency" by not being "anonymous" would be a good thing. But if all you're going to do is challenge me about things over which I have no power, authority, or even knowledge, I have to plead ignorance and just shut up. So much for dialogue.
So many people have been angry for so long about so many different things it's hard to know where to begin a response to it all. So I won't. In my part of the vinyard I will do everything in my power for the salvation of souls, and in the meantime pray that God will raise up reformer bishops in the Spirit of Borromeo, Liguori, Augustine, etc. All I want is to be a faithful son of the Church and not be thrown under the bus by the Bishop or the laity!
No more from me.

Thomistic

Fr. Heath,

I wasn't blaming you, and I really appreciate your comments and dialogue.

I am sorry if you won't comment any more.

I don't perceive you as enabling or codependent. I am surprised you didn't know about these things, though, because every priest in Orange County should know about them.

God bless you, Fr. Heath. I've met you and I know you are one of the good guys. That's why I was so frank and honest with you. It was never my intention to run you off or make you feel like you are to blame.

Pax,

Thomistic

Andrzej

Yes, Father Heath, your comments and the fact that you are concerned and show a genuine interest in learning about what has gone on in the diocese are much appreciated by readers of this blog. Please pray for a restoration of what is good and holy in our diocese and don't do anything to expose yourself to retaliation from Marywood. God bless you!

Michael teissere

Dear Fr. Heath, I wasn't calling you a bad priest . I am sure you don't know all the details of what is going on. The ones that do are Bishop Brown's inner circle of priests such as Fr. Mckierran and Fr. Douglas Cook at least in my case. In no way I'm lumping you with them. If you thought that. I'm truely sorry. Please forgive me. I really would like to meet with you to tell you what happened to my wife and I. But I bet if Bishop Brown found out you will be in trouble.

Atlanta Catholic

Thank you for responding.
Father Heath!


I will pray for you. I was shocked that you used your name. It "almost" places you as a good guy without anything to hide, or naive. It is very difficult to know the inner details of corruption in this Diocese, and watch well intenders defend a bad Bishop. I'm sorry to say that Bishop Brown is bad but his record speaks for him.
Yet, ignorance should not be bliss!

The faithful have lost their trust in the clergy. I do know excellent priests who always say. "Where evil is grace abounds more"! Keep working in the vineyard and "Be Not Afraid to Teach the Truth" You just never know who might be listening! God Bless and give you courage! The fact that you remember to use the word "souls" is a refreshing difference from sealing records to hide things. St. Alphonsus Liguori said,
"Prelates and clergy who once had and understood the faith, but abandoned it to promote their own cause....their punishment is to be locked into their blindness until death"! WOW!! Tough words!!! Bishop Brown's promotion of homosexual rights that are contrary to the Teachings of the Church, place him in need of tremendous prayer.

CoffeeMugPhilosophy

some things never change, eh Thomistic?

CoffeeMugPhilosophy

...as in if you dont share the same mindset of
this site your heart, mind, personality, and/or psychological makeup is called into question.

Not a very charitable site or group.

Atlanta Catholic

"Be Gone Faust!" Your presence is predictable!

tomyj

Well said, CoffeeMugPhilosophy!!

Patrick

CoffeMug,

Compared to other web forums that I have used over the years, this site is pretty laid-back and most of the regulars exercise restraint. However, given the nature of the medium and the subject matter, heated debates can occur. If it is too much for you, then maybe you should visit other blogs (and lay-off the espresso).

Atlanta Catholic

Very well stated Patrick! You are speaking to the defenders of Bishop Brown who possibly stand to lose their cushy positions. They are scared and it shows.The house of cards is falling. I'll be charitable and let them have their coffee. It's all they have left, when it comes right down to the last drop.

Subvet

The monsignor is whisked off to Canada because of his "sickness" and the bishop fights to keep his testimony secret.

Defend or defame the bishop as you will, but when John Q. Public reads of these things he'll go by the standard of, "if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and sounds like a duck then it must be a duck".

And in the long run it's the Church that suffers most.

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