Sunday, March 4, 2018

More Information (Or Not) On Luke Reese

The pseudonymous Mary Ann Mueller has done a very creditable job with additional research on Luke Reese at Virtue Online. She's clearly been able to reference the actual legal documents in the spousal abuse case, but she also raises just one of the additional issues the Reese case brings to light:
The Catholic Church is not fully equipped to deal with the home life, financial needs, problems and issues surrounding a married priest with wife, children and even grandchildren. . . . Through the marital problems and eventual breakdown of Fr. Reese's marriage, played out in such a public manner, the Ordinariate -- and the overarching Catholic Church -- is learning firsthand the lessons that Anglican bodies have already learned -- marriage and the priesthood is a delicate balancing act.
However, a visitor raised another issue that's been at the back of my mind:
It is worth asking how well his service with not only the Anglican Church of America, but with another traditionalist affiliation, the Anglican Catholic Church in the Indianapolis area, was investigated. Did anyone contact [ACC] Bishop Starks as a part of a background check? Sometimes clergy church-hop for other than spiritual reasons, and abusers are good at being charming. Was his background fully vetted for signs of trouble?
Both the ACA-TAC and the ACC have communities in Indianapolis. The published accounts of Reese's background only vaguely mention a "continuing" denomination in which he was ordained in 2006, and no published account I've seen refers to a second. The visitor suggests Reese was at St. Edward the Confessor (an ACC parish in Indianapolis) at one point when his oldest children were small and they were singing in the choir, possibly in the late 1990s or early 2000s. He may have been originally ordained in the ACC and then moved to the St Margaret of Scotland ACA-TAC group in Indianapolis, according to the visitor.

At this point, it seems to me that it's incumbent on the CDF to walk back the cat, find out where exactly Reese was as an Anglican priest, and determine why he apparently hopped jurisdictions before landing in the Catholic priesthood. A failure to check references thoroughly, and a failure to verify all prior employment, would be a major dereliction, especially in light of the allegations that he provided alcohol to minors and became intoxicated with them as a Catholic priest.

I will see if I can e-mail the parishes involved and determine if they will confirm whether he was a priest in either, and the dates of his tenure or ordination. In light of the publicity, which must certainly be pervasive in the Indianapolis area, I'm not sure if either will wish to be associated with him at this point.

If any visitors have information on Reese's prior career, which could be just dates of employment and where employed without any other judgment, it would be very helpful.