However, the parishioner who filed the complaint recently contacted me with greater detail. Based on information available, I'm satisfied that this is the individual who filed the complaint. In addition, while the diocese is bound by confidentiality, the complainant is not. Nevertheless, it should be recognized that this is the complainant's side of the story, and no doubt Fr Kenyon had a different version when approached on the matter by the diocese. However, the upshot is that the matter was investigated, and the disposition is, according to the complainant, that Fr Kenyon was moved to a private house without a parish by the Bishop of Shrewsbury.
Here is the complainant's e-mail to me, marked IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST:
Fr Kenyon installed his 14 year old son as Head Altar boy after dismissing the previous one who had been there for several years.In deciding whether this e-mail was credible enough to publish, I relied in some measure on remarks Fr Z has made on his blog regarding how best to file complaints with bishops. His advice is to state facts, what happened, what was said, avoid characterizations, and especially avoid excessive use of caps, italics, and exclamation points. It seems to me that this e-mail had an air of credibility that must have impressed the diocese as well.
I was spiritually abused by Fr Lee Kenyon who called me a time waster because I rang him for spiritual support whilst facing a possible diagnosis of bone cancer. I said Oh God and he immediately called me a blasphemer as well.
I felt devastated and humiliated and this priest nearly drove me to a breakdown. I advised the Curial office/Bishop's office of Fr Lee Kenyon off hand cruel manner.
I am relieved he has gone but I am very sorry for others who may have been hurt as well.
I hope Fr Kenyon finds peace and happiness and learns to listen to people.
My understanding is that communications were made from Houston to OCSP clergy at the time the complaint was filed, notifying them but essentially calling the complainant's mental stability into question. Let's look at this complaint from a perspective most sympathetic to Fr Kenyon, perhaps that the individual was not in fact awaiting a diagnosis of bone cancer, but had concocted this as a bid for attention.
This sort of thing is not absolutely unknown in any parish, but especially so early in a priest's tenure, some exercise of pastoral tact might well be called for -- in my observation, there are few parishes in any denomination that do not have at least a few people who require some type of special sympathy, which we don't see here from Fr Kenyon at all. And the e-mail as it came to me is not the mark of an irrational person, and it doesn't appear that the diocese treated the complaint that way.
In even the most favorable light to Fr Kenyon, his reaction seems little short of bizarre, and without any mitigating circumstances that might be present, the account suggests that Fr Kenyon may not have chosen the best career. For the bishop to place him so quickly into a situation where he's not exposed to a parish suggests the diocese may have reached a similar conclusion.
That the complainant should have contacted me with the story suggests even this disposition may not have been completely satisfactory to the individual, and I can't really disagree. I've expressed my reservations here frequently about the formation that OCSP clergy who come in from Protestant denominations receive, and it's very hard for me to see this story as anything but a confirmation of my reservations. I'm a little disturbed to have had this communication yesterday from my regular correspondent:
According to Fr K's FB page he was preaching to the Manchester Ordinariate Group this morning.So the man turned out to be a disaster within weeks of arriving at a diocesan parish, but that's OK, he's plenty good enough for the OOLW.
Now, I simply don't know what a diocese normally does when a priest flames out so spectacularly, but I do have a sense that there are people in the chancery who have the experience, common sense, and insight to handle things in the best way for all concerned -- though I strongly suspect reevaluation of a career choice would be involved. (A competent diocesan vocations director would probably have caught this far earlier.) I just don't think anyone in Houston is equipped to deal with a situation like this -- somehow, Fr Kenyon made it past the nulla osta, after all, when far more capable men did not.