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« Liberal Wiseguy, John Stewart, Interviews Liberal Blowhard, Chris Matthews, And Makes Interesting Observations About Matthews' Book | Main | Phony Soldier Stories Abound »

Thursday, October 04, 2007


Atlanta Catholic

I wonder what the Diocese Spin will be on this one?

Christopher H.

Title II - Religious Institutes
Art. 3
Dismissal of Members

Can. 277 -2. Clerics are to conduct themselves with due prudence in associating with persons whose company could endanger their obligations to observe continence or... COULD CAUSE SCANDAL FOR THE FAITHFUL.

that second part is a killer.


Thank God that reporters like Gustavo are pursuing this story. Despite the best efforts of diocesan water-carriers, flunkies and toadies to obfuscate everything relating to Msgr. Urell, I think the truth will out. Miraculously, Tod Brown even makes his buddy to the north, Roger Cardinal Mahony, look good by comparison!


People, please. Hundreds of policy and procedures, and you all expect them to be followed flawlessly? Are you kidding me? So none of you have done anything at work in ways different from the way you were "supposed" to do it?

I really hope the truth comes out, people are held completely responsible for their actions, and holy, competent people are put in positions vital to the spiritual growth of the diocese. But quoting this, and then saying, "Did Urell lie?" Come on.

Urell denies knowing anything about the case. Refuting him seems pretty simple: find someone who can refute his statement--someone who knows differently. Who called Urell to give the accusation? Surely someone would remember Urell talking about the case, right?

There seemed to be a break-down at the very beginning of the allegation: Mater Dei, who seemed more interested in keeping things quiet than addressing the issue. Don't tell me Urell was the Chancellor back in '95. Tell me when the Chancellor's office got the allegation forwarded from Mater Dei. That seems the most important thing.

Nice job of innuendo.

Atlanta Catholic

Christopher H.,

"That second part is a killer"!





Good research Christopher! Properly
applied, this dismissal could potentially wipe out a large majority of bad apples in the barrel. Also, remember that prior spokesperson for the Diocese of Orange, (selected by Bishop Tod Brown) Father Joseph Fenton told a parishioner who telephoned the Diocese to inquire about the Diocese protecting children from homosexual priests....Father Fenton laughed and responded, "If we were to "remove" all of the homosexual priests, we would have to turn the Church over to the lay people!"

Father Fenton was "removed" as spokesperson for the Diocese shortly after his candid response. Also, to his credit for candor, Father Fenton was the only religious representative in the local paper to "bash" the movie, "The Passion"!


I think the walls are closing in on Tod Brown and John Urell. Did you see the post on the OC Weekly's Navel Gazing blog by the "priest who didn't run to Mexico?" More confirmation that Msgr. Urell was two-faced and nasty to victims. But then, it's always been about CYA at the diocese, not about protecting the innocent, vulnerable victims. And Urell's supporters plead for the hounds on his trail to be compassionate and cut HIM some slack!



Did you know that the definition of an innuendo is an Italian suppository? Also, it perfectly describes the uphill battle we are facing in the Diocese of Orange. Please try to refrain from causing pain by reminding people that there are lame excuse makers, who essentially believe in zero accountability. Look at all of the alleged stress that Msgr. Urell faced with the depositions, yet he still found a way to Canada. It was Msgr. Urell’s job to be as adept at finding a file. That was his job. Even Bishop McFarland said so. Whose team are you playing for?


Has anyone read Gustavo's other column- "Ask a Mexican?"

It is sometimes too vulgar to read, and has homo overtones.



I'm not "playing" for any team. I think my post speaks for itself, really.

I am for justice being done in the coach Andrade case. I want the perp punished, as well as everyone in authority who showed not only poor judgement but atrocious negligence in addressing this issue.

However, I'm not sure that giving this girl millions of dollars of diocesan money is the just thing to do. Why excactly, Mona, do you think you and I should partly pay for behavior you, the Diocese, and I condemn?

Now, as to the point (in case you missed it, Mona) of my post, I reiterate: stop making innuendoes about Father Urell lying when you really don't have evidence of a lie occurring. (Your Italian definition was unknown by me, I'm happy to say.)

Evidence of a lie is NOT: well, Father Urell was supposed to get the report that abuse happened at Mater Dei; therefore, any denial of this means he is lying.

I'm sorry, Mona, if that offends you, but perhaps we need Thomistic to post again about what specifically a lie is. Is it an avenue to explore for attorneys? Yes. Is it evidence of a lie? Are you kidding me? Alas, you're not. Alas, Gustavo is not. It may turn out that he did lie, but this is not even the slightest evidence that he did. If Gustavo thinks it does, he's a terrible reporter. If he titled his article, then it smacks of a disengenuous one.

Actual evidence of a lie is pretty clear: Well, Father Urell told me he got the child abuse report from Mater Dei, gave it to the Bishop, but now he denies it. Or, Father Urell's signature is on the report about the Andrade abuse, demonstrating he got the report; but now he's denying any knowledge of the matter. Or, Father Urell is included in the minutes of a meeting discussing this case. Even then, however, he may not be lying.

That's all I'm saying. I'm not saying there's nothing to investigate. I'm not saying anyone is innocent. I've said plenty on other articles about the unbelievable Canadian eject button that Father Urelll hit while he was giving his deposition. I've said that anyone with this rather cowardly, anxious disposition should NEVER have been given the task of confronting child abusers. If he reacts like this to questions posed to him, how can he adequately confront fellow priest-ephebephiliacs?

That's whose team I'm on, Mona.

Atlanta Catholic


You still don't seem to see it. How could you ask Mona if money should be paid out for behavior that she, you and the Diocese don't approve of. The Diocese of Orange completely approves of this behavior. Our Bishop, Tod Brown just told a Catholic that Father Rod Stephens, who lives with his homosexual partner, in a consensual relationship, is a Catholic in good standing. Maybe the Diocese thought that because it seemed consensual like others have mentioned, it was no big deal... That is till the $$$$$Money was involved.

Bishop McFarland also knew about Father Stephens. Has it ever crossed your mind that these offenses were not looked into because they were not that out of line to the Diocese. A Diocese who condoned and looked the other way, regarding the Head of Liturgy and Evangeilization living in his consensual homosexual relationship. Live and let live was the Diocese motto. How were they going to be the moral authority on Mr. Andrade? You might not approve of their behavior and Mona might not approve their behavior, but the Diocese was the blind investigating the blind. You are correct when you say that Msgr. Urell was not strong enough to handle the job. The question is why was he not strong enough? When the lead Shepherds of the Diocese look the other way, in serious matters, their strength in goodness and wisdom is completely compromised in all matters.

Gustavo Arellano

Anne: What does ¡Ask a Mexican! have to do with this particular post? And "homo overtones" least you're upfront about your bigotry! Sorry, chula, but your red herring says more about you than me.

Jimbo: What insinuations did I write? There is a discrepancy in the testimony of Urell, McFarland and diocesan policy--I merely pointed it out and offered explanations, two of which exculpate the monsignor. I actually don't believe the faithful should pay for any settlements--no, the hierarchy should sell off its many properties, and Bishop Brown should stop trying to build a cathedral up the road from South Coast Plaza. Call me a terrible reporter if you must, but I'll stand by it any day, and have for the past four years of this scandal.

Atlanta Catholic

Gustavo has done his job well. He has reported facts that other newspapers avoided. I have faith that Gustavo will continue to expose the cover ups that need to be uncovered. The Church will be better when the shepherds who claim to love it, but in actions despise it, are gone. When this happens, I'll be the first to invite Gustavo for hot coffee and doughnuts after Mass.



Hmm, I somehow notice that you used the word "discrepancy" in your post above responding to me, while in your article you used the word "lie?" That's all I was saying; I see now that you do understand what I said, despite your post to me. Pointing out, and wanting to find out about, a discrepancy -- which may turn out to be a lie, in fact -- is a lot different than insinuating a lie like you did in your article. (You did write, "Did Msg. Urell lie," right?) That was the innuendo, although insinuation might have been a better word.

Tell me, Mr. Arellano: what specific evidence do you have that Father Urell actually LIED? (For the record, I disdain sounding like I'm defending Urell and his handling of these abuses.) You're the one who chose the word "lied", after all. He very well may have lied, like I said; but your article presented no evidence of a lie, yet you chose to bring up the possibility of a lie in the form of a question, which is a common way to insinuate something without taking any responsibility for it. After all, it leaves perfect deniability: Hey, I never actually said Urell lied...I just asked if it was possible that he did. I loathe that tactic, and you should too.

Hmm, Jimbo's post seems to defend Father Urell. Why does he seem so quick to defend abusers of children? Could it be that Jimbo is a predator too? Sometimes a question is more than a question. If your editor hasn't told you this, then shame on him and all the people who have taught you your craft. I suspect, though it is only a suspicion, that most reporters do know this, because I see it so often in smear journalism.

I much prefer that you use "discrepancy", since there is absolutely NO evidence that Urell has lied. least not yet. But I suspect, though it is only suspicion, that "discrepancy" isn't quite the headline and attention grabber that "lied" is, especially when talking about this issue.

I have no anymosity towards you or the huge job you're doing in this story. I know it is thankless, and I'm sure you get attacked all the time. My post should not be seen as an attack on what you're doing, just your using this unwarranted word possibly prematurely. I hope to learn more and will be reading your future articles.


Atlanta Cath,

Now, generally I find your posts pretty thoughtful, but this last one above is really bizarre. I'll just chalk it up to coming home late, being overly tired.

I see things fine. Even if the diocese turns a blind eye to practicing homosexuals in the priesthood, and I'm definitely not saying it does, that is still a LONG, LONG way from saying it condones or closes its eyes to child abuse!! Come on. Don't become Addled Catholic on us.

Atlanta Catholic


You are naive, or would you also prefer addled. Thank you, for the addled compliment. I guess it could be worse. I really stand by the fact that the Diocese did nothing to stop molesters until newspapers and lawsuits slapped them.

Nothing has changed Jimbo. If they can hide it they will. The Diocese will say that they think it is wrong, but behind the scenes its not dealt with, ( example: Father Salazar) because it is very difficult to punish offenders when they themselves have not adhered to Church Teaching on certain matters. They are all compromised because they know each other. I believe that the Diocese would just appreciate adult slip ups that are consensual. One of the leaflets that came out after the scandals first broke, made that inference. A Catholic attorney who read it, got the same message. Is everyone addled? How many more chances should a shepherd who failed to protect children immediately, be given? What would you like to call that? Aggressive concern for souls and children or concern for lawsuits and police involvement and the free ride ending, if they tell on one another.

Nothing will change, even with fingerprinting, P.R. moves, and leaflets.
It looks good on the outside but the foxes are still in charge of the hen house. Sometimes they are even able to outfox a Jimbo. I still am very grateful that you are a convert that seems to love the Church. Let's keep asking God for better leadership.


Atl Cath,

I hope you take my comments with the humor that I meant: I definitely don't consider you's just that it sounds vaguely like Atlanta. (Sound out the first three letter phonetically...if they taught phonetics in your day, that is.)

It's clear you mean to legitimately, rightly defend what's right in the Church. I don't question that at all.

However, I sometimes really do see that you--and some others around here--come to conclusions that are not justified by the facts. If/When I say something objectionable, I appreciate when people call me on it and question it.

The Diocese of Orange has never shown that they approve of child-teenage abuse, as you basically say in your posts. Fear of allegations becoming public is an indication of cowardice, not a sign of any approval of the behavior. They investigated allegations, they transferred priests, they paid money to victims. The catechisms in the diocese library says the behavior is immoral, as do numerous canon laws. Now, they should have done WAY more; their lack of effective measures to address this is a titanic moral failing, but to say they approved of the behavior is just wrong.


Today, I heard that the basketball coach case was settled. During the deposition, lawyers for the victim started asking Urell what he knew about OTHER possible incidents of abuse. That is when he was advised, by the diocese attorneys, not to answer. It is also when he started in with his "bad spell" and was whisked off to Canada. The diocese then settled the case in a hurry. God only knows what else is under that rug.

Michael Teissere

Bishop Brown can't even give me a simple document saying my cousin Fr. Rod Stephens as no functions as a priest. Even the Los Angeles Archdiocese( Vicar of clergy) has requested this document and he refused to give them one as well. Bishop Brown is hidding something! Why is it so hard for Bishop Brown to write a letter of apology to my family and give an offical document on my cousin Fr. Rod Stephens status as a priest in the diocese of Orange?

Atlanta Catholic




When you see the continued abuses promulated by these Bishops, you have to wonder what exactly is going on in Rome, or due to Pope Paul VI and is creation of the synod of Bishops which has emasculated the Papacy for the most part and left each Bishop to govern his own little fiefdom as he desires, have we not defected as a church and no longer carry the 4 marks as required which are

If we have defected as a church, then where is the true church? During the Aryan heresy the Bishops were all corrupt and it took centuries to sort out the mess


Jimbo wrote:

"The Diocese of Orange has never shown that they approve of child-teenage abuse, as you basically say in your posts. Fear of allegations becoming public is an indication of cowardice, not a sign of any approval of the behavior"

Hmm, is that so? Simple analogy:

I am a high level manager and clearly know the company policy on theft, sexual harrassment, etc etc

I have employees who are alleged to be stealing, abusing, etc. It is reported to me. What should I do? Because I am a coward I move this person from office to office, or do I because I am outraged that someone may actually be making a workplace hostile for others who just want to come to work and do their job and go home without abuse, dont I have an obligation to investigate and if found guilty either dismiss this person, or at the very least write them up and fire them the next time something happens?

With clergy anywhere from 30-50% homosexual, either these Bishops are gay, know others who are gay and are obviously OK with it, or just plain dont care.So when abuse comes their way, they cover it up.

The church wanted a liberal open minded priesthood to push forth the reforms of the 1960's-1980's and she now has it and has to live with it. Used to be so many Italian and Irish families we grew up with the sons were all altar boys and some became priests. Today none of these grandchildren of these same people are even considering allowing their sons to become altar boys (but we have all altar girls!!!) for fear of pedopholia and now the priesthood has essentially become a gay profession


As quoted in the papers, John Manly, the plaintiffs’ lead attorney, said that the statement from the diocese was "nothing more, nor less, than a litany of misstatements, misrepresentations and outright falsehoods." Pretty tough language, applied to supposed men of God, who had promised openness and candor in their Martin-Luther-like PR stunt known as the “Covenant With the Faithful.”

Manly went on to say in a press release, "At no point throughout this entire process did anyone from the Diocese of Orange or their lawyers say a kind word, offer healing, or do anything other than try to defeat the spirit of these four brave women [the plaintiffs.]"

Even allowing for the typically bitter adversarial nature of such legal proceedings, this was really strong stuff. Apologists for the bishop will dismiss it as spin and say it’s all part of a smear campaign aimed at getting the biggest possible monetary settlement out of the diocese.

The image of poor Msgr. Urell, now supposedly a broken man, curled up in a fetal position in the corner of a Canadian sanatorium, is conjured up. We’re asked to pity this man who was reportedly nasty, deceitful and not compassionate at all to the real victims of priestly abuse. Far from being a bystander, Urell was up to his elbows in the cover-ups and the hideous policies of shifting abusers around from parish to parish so they could continue to prey on kids.

See? Look what all of us seeking the truth have gone and done: We’ve made this poor priest have a breakdown. We should be ashamed of ourselves!

I think it’s more than just an adversarial relationship or spin, though. If the plaintiffs’ attorneys are merely money-grubbers, why does a Catholic bishop — and one publicly committed to openness and cooperation at that — have to respond in an even more evil way?

I think this episode illustrates how Bishop Brown, who should be a Catholic priest first, does not behave in anything like a pastoral manner. Instead, he and his minions behave like cornered animals — like rats in a trap, hissing and baring their big yellow incisors — because they know that this time those who have been seeking the truth have gotten closer than ever to what the bishop wants and needs to keep hidden.

I believe the reaction is indicative of just how much putrid filth still remains under the rug.

Of course the diocese settled. They want to try and hush this up and get on with business as usual — like fundraising for Brown’s “Tod Mahal,” the new Cathedral of Christ Our Savior planned for a site near South Coast Plaza.

I for one am withholding any donations or PSA pledges until we have a better, truly Catholic bishop — or this one genuinely repents and mends his ways.



I'm willing that everyone who had any knowledge or complicity in Catholic priest child abuse be held responsible. Thus, in your example, you, as a high level manager, would be subject to being fired and sued for failing to do what you should have done.

But why should someone who had no idea of the perpetrator, or the horrible decisions, be held responsible? It makes no legal/moral sense. The Church, and 99.9999 percent of Catholics, are outraged at what has happened, yet we're going to have to pay for the atrocious behaviors of a few priests? It's an unjust, pathetic system we live in that allows such a thing.

I don't get to sue your employer or your church when you're on your way to Church and hit my car. Why should the reverse be true? I know the analogy isn't perfect, but I think my point is clear: hold the responsible responsible; don't hold the innocent responsible for the actions of those they don't support.



About ten years ago, I had some interesting discussions with acquaintances about the condition of the Church. My acquaintances were a married couple, from Beverly Hills, who attended St. Monica's Church in Santa Monica. St. Monica's had a reputation as a gay-friendly, progressive parish. My acquaintances could be described as liberal yuppie types who returned to the Church when they began raising their children.

They were incredulous to learn that I was one of "those Latin Mass people." When I tried to explain some of my concerns about the post Vat II Church, including the problem of priest-molesters, I was told "we don't want to get involved." I was asked, "what is the point of bringing up all that upsetting stuff?"

As illustrated in the above example, I believe the Catholic laity are also to blame for the these ongoing scandals. We have failed to hold the clergy accountable. Too many lay Catholics just want to be entertained for an hour and a half on Sunday. They want to hear comforting homilies and be told that they aren't so bad after all. Then, they can drop a few bucks in the collection basket and feel good about themselves while driving home.

I find it ironic that the post Vatican II crowd prides itself in the fact that the laity are more involved in the life of the Church. They base this idea on the fact that lay Catholics greet fellow parishioners at the front door and help distribute Communion. However, they are not involved where they really need to be involved--demanding that the bishops clean-up the Church.

Sometimes I wonder what my parent's or grandparent's generation would have done in this situation. I think they would not have been as passive as we are today. They probably would have been fit to tied.


The last line above should be: "fit to be tied."

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