Breaking God: Former Roman Catholic priest busted for selling meth to feds

A former Roman Catholic priest is among five people who have been indicted by a federal grand jury in an alleged drug operation involving shipments of methamphetamine to Connecticut from California.

Kevin WallinFederal prosecutors said Kevin Wallin, 61, former pastor at St. Augustine’s parish in Bridgeport, received the shipments and sold methamphetamine to an undercover officer six times since last September. Prosecutors say investigators also gathered evidence from court-authorized wiretaps.

The grand jury in Bridgeport indicted the five people Tuesday on charges of conspiring to distribute 500 grams or more of a substance containing methamphetamine and 50 grams of actual methamphetamine. Wallin, of Waterbury, was also charged with six counts of possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine. The conspiracy charges carry 10 years to life in prison upon conviction.

All five are detained. It’s not clear if they have lawyers.

Also charged are Kenneth Devries, 52, of Waterbury, Michael Nelson, 40, of Manchester, Chad McCluskey, 43, of San Clemente, Calif., and Kristen Laschober, 47, of Laguna Niguel, Calif.

Wallin resigned as St. Augustine’s pastor in June 2011 after serving nine years in the post, citing health and personal issues, the Diocese of Bridgeport said in a statement. Diocese officials granted him a sabbatical the following month.

During the sabbatical, diocese officials became concerned about Wallin’s well-being and reached out to him, but he has never spoken directly to church officials, the diocese said in the statement, which did not elaborate.

Wallin’s faculties for public ministry were suspended in May 2012 and he has not been reassigned, the diocese said.

“News of Msgr. Kevin Wallin’s arrest comes with a sense of shock and concern on the part of the diocese and the many people of Fairfield County who have known him as a gifted, accomplished and compassionate priest,” the diocese said. “The diocese stands ready to help as it has throughout the past two years. We ask for prayers for Msgr. Wallin during the difficult days ahead for him.”

Wallin was a close friend of former Archbishop of New York Edward Egan and advised Egan in the early 2000s when Bishop James McCarthy and Monsignor Charles Kavanagh were forced to resign over sexual improprieties.

Complete Article HERE!

Bourgeois receives official Vatican letter dismissing him from priesthood

By Joshua J. McElwee

Roy Bourgeois, the longtime peace activist and Catholic priest dismissed by the Vatican because of his support for women’s ordination, has received the official letter notifying him of the move three months after it was made.
The letter, which comes from the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, is signed by the congregation’s prefect on behalf of Pope Benedict XVI and states that the pope’s decision in the matter is “a supreme decision, not open to any appeal, without right to any recourse.”

Translation of papal letter to Roy Bourgeois

Written in Latin, the letter dismisses Bourgeois from the priesthood and restricts him from all priestly ministries. It asks Bourgeois to return a signed copy “as a proof of reception and at the same time of acceptance of the same dismissal and dispensation.”

The letter, dated Oct. 4, was made available Wednesday by Bourgeois, who said he received it last week from the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers, the U.S. missionary society he served as a priest for 40 years. Bourgeois said he did not plan to return a signed copy.

The congregation’s letter does not make reference to specific charges against Bourgeois or mention his support for women’s ordination, saying, “for the good of the Church, the dismissal from the said Society must be confirmed, and moreover, also the dismissal from the clerical state must be inflicted.”

“There’s no mention of what I did,” Bourgeois said. “There’s no mention … of women’s ordination. What crime did I commit that brought about this serious sentence? There’s no mention of that. What did I do? What am I being charged with?”

Bourgeois said he found the request to sign the letter “somewhat laughable” at first because he could not fully understand its contents until he obtained an English translation of the Latin from a translation service.

His signature, Bourgeois said, would indicate he accepts the letter’s contents.

“I do not accept it,” he said. “I think it’s a grave injustice. I think it’s mean-spirited. I think it contradicts whatever Jesus had talked about and taught us.”

Maryknoll announced the move against Bourgeois in a press release Nov. 19, but neither the society nor the Vatican congregation responded to previous requests to make public the official letter announcing the move.

Bourgeois said his copy of the letter arrived via registered mail last week along with a short note from Fr. Edward Dougherty, the society’s superior general.

The Vatican’s dismissal, Dougherty wrote to Bourgeois in that note, “is irrevocable and not subject to appeal.”

Mike Virgintino, the communications manager for the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers, wrote in an email Thursday that Maryknoll officials attempted to schedule a meeting with Bourgeois in December to personally deliver the letter but the meeting had to be postponed following the death of Bourgeois’ father in November.

The Vatican’s letter states Bourgeois may not exercise any priestly ministries, including giving homilies or having a “directive role in a pastoral environment.” He also cannot hold an office or teach at any seminary or theological school.

The letter also asks Maryknoll to “exhort [Bourgeois] assiduously so that, once [his] proud behavior has been purified, he will participate in the life of the People of God in conformity to his new condition, will give edification and in this way will show himself a worthy son of the church.”

The letter is signed by Archbishop Gerhard Müller, the doctrinal congregation’s prefect, and Archbishop Luis Ladaria Ferrer, its secretary.

Oblate Fr. Francis Morrisey, a canon lawyer at Ottawa’s Roman Catholic University of Saint Paul, said the official document seems clear that Bourgeois has no recourse in the matter, as his removal was a decision of the pope himself.

William Quigley, an American lawyer who had the original version of the Vatican letter professionally translated into English for Bourgeois, called the letter “very, very unfair” because it does not mention any charges against Bourgeois.

“It’s like they gave him a punishment, but they’ve never given him a charge,” said Quigley, the director of the Gillis Long Poverty Law Center at Loyola University New Orleans and a former legal director for the Center for Constitutional Rights.

“Under the most basic human rights law … everybody has a right to know what the charge is and to have a hearing before a fair tribunal,” Quigley said. “This is bewildering.”

Bourgeois said Wednesday he would continue to speak in favor of women’s ordination and did not think the Vatican’s letter would stop others from also expressing support.

Comparing women’s ordination to the abolition of slavery and women’s suffrage, Bourgeois said “this movement of gender equality … is rooted in God, equality and justice. It’s not stoppable.”

“This letter is not going to stop anything,” Bourgeois said. “I think it’s simply going to bring more people into the movement.”

Bourgeois first attracted episcopal attention after he participated in the ordination of Roman Catholic Womanpriest Janice Sevre-Duszynska in August 2008. Shortly after, the Vatican congregation notified him he had incurred a latae sententiae, or automatic, excommunication for his participation.

Maryknoll asked Bourgeois to publicly recant his support of women’s ordination, telling the priest in a March 2011 letter he faced laicization and removal from the order if he did not comply.

In a series of letters and interviews since then, Bourgeois said he could not comply with the request for reasons of conscience.

Complete Article HERE!

Tied up at the moment

File Under “Whoops!”  I wonder if police also checked his rectum for any, um…foreign objects he might’ve “tripped and fallen” on?

By Bruce Rushton

Fr. Tom DonovanThe pastor of St. Aloysius church on Springfield’s north end has been granted a leave of absence after he called 911 from the rectory and told a dispatcher that he needed help getting out of handcuffs.

“I’m going to need help getting out before this becomes a medical emergency,” Father Tom Donovan told a dispatcher who sounds a bit incredulous during the Nov. 28 call.

“You’re stuck in a pair of handcuffs?” the dispatcher asks.

“(I was) playing with them and I need help getting out,” Donovan responds.

Donovan told the dispatcher that he was alone in the rectory. It’s not clear exactly how he ended up in handcuffs or why he feared a medical emergency. His voice sounds garbled or muffled on the tape, and sources say that police discovered some sort of gag on the priest when they arrived.

The diocese has been tight-lipped about the matter, saying only that Bishop Thomas Paprocki granted Donovan’s request for a leave of absence at some point before Christmas. The diocese knows about the incident, given that Brad Huff, an attorney for the diocese, has been given a copy of the 911 tape by the Sangamon County Emergency Telephone System Department. Kathie Sass, spokeswoman for the Diocese of Springfield, said that the diocese also has a copy of a police report on the matter.

Sass would not disclose Donovan’s whereabouts or say whether he is staying at a church-affiliated location.

“I wouldn’t be able to tell you where Father Donovan is,” Sass said. “There’s a matter of privacy there.”

Sass said that Donovan approached Paprocki after the incident and asked for help.

“He came to the bishop before anyone was aware of the incident,” Sass said. “He came to the bishop and asked for help and was granted leave.”

Paprocki reviewed the police report after speaking with Donovan, and the police account jibed with what the priest told the bishop, Sass said.

Complete Article HERE!

UnHoly Communion

Some months ago a fellow contacted out of the blue and identified himself as Hank Estrada. Apparently he found me through the Gay Catholic Priests Facebook page. Hank went on to introduce himself and tell me about his latest book, UnHoly Communion-Lessons Learned from Life among Pedophiles, Predators, and Priests. This immediately piqued my interest. His book was published just weeks before my book, Secrecy, Sophistry and Gay Sex In The Catholic Church: The Systematic Destruction of an Oblate Priest in the summer of 2011. After a short conversation on Skype we decided to exchange book and read each other’s story. Hank was way better than me in getting this job done. In record time he plowed through my rather ponderous book and we spoke again on Skype in the earl fall.

Hank complimented me on my work and we spoke for nearly an hour about the many church related experiences we had in common. You see, Hank was a Claretian seminarian in Los Angeles, California around the same time I was Ordained and Oblate priest in Oakland California.

UnHoly CommunionI told Hank that I had yet to get to his book. I apologized for being so slow and promised that I’d get to it as soon as possible. Well it took me way longer than I thought. It’s astonishing how life seems to get in the way of of my best intentions. At any rate, I finished Hank’s book yesterday, Christmas Day. Curiously enough, Hank had some time to spend yesterday afternoon so we met on Skype once again to discuss his book.

UnHoly Communion-Lessons Learned from Life among Pedophiles, Predators, and Priests is primarily a story of the indomitable human spirit. Hank’s story is harrowing — years of childhood incest with his pedophile uncle while his alcoholic family lived in denial.  His escape to what he believed to be a safe haven, the Church, only to be sexually abused by a trusted superior.   And how the leadership of his religious community added insult to injury by ignoring his story and shamefully protecting the sexual predator in their midst permitting him  to move from one victim to another.

Despite all of the abuse, deception and betrayal, Hank triumphs. He is now a nationally recognized spokesman and tireless advocate for male victims and adult survivors of sexual assaults. In 1986, he founded the first national nonprofit organization to support non-offending adult male survivors. His book, despite the difficult subject matter and candid recollections of his ordeal, is really a testament to all of us who have been through similar experiences. It is a message, presented in a very accessible, matter of fact style, of hope, support, and encouragement.

I was particularly touched by his perception, as a seminarian, of the Catholic priesthood that he aspired to join. He perfectly captures the moral and ethical minefield that each priest and religious faces. And how easily it is for any one of us to succumb to the dark side. I quote…

While living in a community of Catholic priests and brothers, I quickly learned about the many personal benefits a religious clergyman receives throughout his priesthood, among them prestige, privilege, protection and often unchallenged influential power over parishioners. Could these questionable benefits lead to arrogance, self-righteousness, and a false sense of invincibility on the part of the priest? What about the sense of accountability, respect, adherence to faith, protection of the innocent and being true examples of Christ’s presence in the world? I witnessed as these men who wore a traditional black suit with white “Roman” collar, undeniably the most recognizable symbol of the Catholic priesthood, were frequently sought out, pampered, given unlimited trust and attention, and had people constantly offering to do things for them. Internally, I questioned some priests I saw take the spiritual “gift” of priesthood and turn it into something they bartered with, a way to control parishioners, as saying “If you treat me special, I will pray and give you blessing from our Lord.”

Hank’s book, UnHoly Communion-Lessons Learned from Life among Pedophiles, Predators, and Priests is a must read for anyone interested in knowing the truth about life in the Catholic Church. His thoughtful and reflective presentation is not about grinding an ax, although he has every right to do so. It’s all about being honest, primarily with himself, then with his family, his religious community, and us. Because it is precisely this honesty that will help him, them and us from shirking our responsibility to be more vigilant in terms of protecting the most vulnerable among us.

Thank you, Hank, for your witness. And thank you for calling us to uncover our eyes and see things, not as we would like them to be, but as they really are.