Wednesday, February 28, 2018

More On The Indianapolis Story

WTHR contacted the OCSP and, at the bottom of a story that basically repeats the information in the blog post I linked yesterday, published this statement from Houston:
The Ordinariate and the Archdiocese immediately placed Rev. Reese on leave.

Since Sept. 27, he has not had any priestly duties and has been prohibited from exercising any public ministry.

Bishop Steven J. Lopes of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of Saint Peter has pledged the diocese’s full cooperation with the civil authorities conducting the investigation.

The Ordinariate is committed to collaborating with authorities to ensure justice is provided for all concerned, and affirms the Catholic Church’s clear teaching that domestic violence is never justified.

The blog post, as well as WTHR, published a statement in the Our Lady of the Rosary bulletin from October 4 regarding Reese's leave of absence, which cautioned parishioners not to gossip or speculate about Reese or his family, stressing that this is a sin. Several visitors have expressed concern about this. Curiosity and gossip are in fact sins, and I would say this is good advice in general from Fr McCarthy.

On the other hand, this is now material in the public domain, and being published in local media, it is no longer detraction to mention it (although it probably would have been prior to its publication). Since Fr McCarthy gave the advice well before the facts were published, I would say that there wasn't anything improper in giving it, out of respect in particular to Reese's children, who were and continue to be completely innocent parties.

Reese and his family are in my prayers.

Having been through the Virtus program, though, I've got to ask what action the archdiocese and the OCSP did or didn't take when they were advised sometime prior to September 2017 that Reese was giving alcohol to minors and getting intoxicated with them. This is a pretty clear indicator that grooming for sexual abuse is taking place.

It's also worth noting that Reese was only ordained a priest in June 2016. The alcohol-to-minors business must have gotten started not long afterward, although if Reese had been music director of the Our Lady of the Rosary parish since 2012, ongoing activity of some sort prior to 2016 can't be ruled out, either. Somebody needs to take a close look at what was missed. My regular correspondent notes,

Most OCSP clergy are of secular retirement age and apparently made it through the window for a mid-life crisis without incident. As the Ordinariate recruits younger former clergy, by definition outliers from their previous denominations, it runs far more risk of harbouring ticking time-bombs You have often expressed your reservations about [redacted's] long-term marital stability. The Gilbertines have been together as a couple for a long time, but that is not the sort of stability the Ordinariate needs either. The role of alcohol is troubling, and although this at least is a familiar problem where Catholic clergy are concerned, it is more complicated when there is the potential for domestic violence. Frs Kenyon and Reese looked like models of success for the OCSP: full-time parish ministry for the priest, with lots of kids and a full-time stay-at-home wife in a chapel veil. Turns out, not so much. I think they will need to think long and hard about recruitment, going forward.
I've long been skeptical of the TEC Bp Paul Moore Jr strategy, nine kids and a closet gay harasser. But "continuers" in particular have a much higher incidence of divorce and general marital irregularity -- Douglas Bess cites Louis Falk's clear willingness to look the other way over this sort of thing as a source of the 1991 ACC-TAC split. It's fairly plain that the CDF hasn't ben sufficiently aware of the problem here. But even leaving that aside, Reese was able to get through four years of remedial seminary studies and psychological screening to make it to ordination, which clearly shouldn't have happened.

Someone needs to be asking serious questions at the CDF.