|ChrisOLeary.com > Sacrificed > Seasoned Pastor|
Something's been bothering me for the past week.
Something that became clear -- that HIT me, CRUSHED me -- yesterday.
Something important enough that, even though there's going to be some overlap with the previous, quick and dirty, pop-up episode I did on aspects of this topic, the episode entitled...
I feel it's necessary to go over some ground I've already covered.
In a bit more depth.
Because it's SUCH a big deal that I really need to hammer it home.
In the previous episode of Sacrificed, I discussed the -- incredibly disturbing -- case of Father Alan Martineau of Worcester, Massachusetts.
I want to REVISIT that case -- I'm pretty sure I won't be able to SLEEP, and not wake up for HOURS in the middle of the night, until I do -- because there's one aspect of the story of Fr. Alan Martineau, that's been bothering me.
Something that doesn't make SENSE.
A sense that was triggered by the phrase, "Seasoned Pastor."
It's as if "Seasoned Pastor" was the rock in my shoe...
Which helped establish -- helped me REALIZE -- how LITTLE has changed in the hearts and minds of the True Believers of the Catholic Church.
The Bishops and their Enablers, at least.
And makes clear one thing.
Catholic children remain in danger.
And not just Catholics.
And not just children.
I was driving my Dad around -- taking him to a Wound Care appointment and then to Wal-Mart -- and was again trying to explain to him, AGAIN, what I was trying to do with the Catholic Stuff.
Why I couldn't (just) move on.
Put it down.
Stop thinking or talking about it.
As he tells me I needed to. At every opportunity.
I was trying to get him to understand why I feel I have to WARN people.
When I figured it out.
As I turned from Pershing on to Hanley.
What ELSE it is about the case of Fr. Martineau that bothered me so much.
The TWO things.
Beyond the phrase Seasoned Pastor, and that phrase's echoes of -- and overlap with -- my own story.
That establish the THREAT the Catholic Church CONTINUES to represent.
"In late January of this year (2022) Fr. Martineau was scheduled to be transferred to a new parish to benefit from the tutelage of a seasoned pastor because of concerns over boundary issues with a minor, and for other pastoral issues. Before that assignment took place, additional information was reported to the Diocese that prompted Bishop McManus to place Fr. Martineau on leave, suspend his faculties to function publicly as a priest, and to begin the independent investigation."
The thing that stood out to me was this portion...
"Fr. Martineau was scheduled to be transferred to a new parish to benefit from the tutelage of a seasoned pastor..."
That phrase, and line, triggered me -- and, by "triggered" me, I mean disturbed me to the point where I haven't been able to sleep, well, at least, since I read it -- because it brought to mind my own experience.
As a child.
Who was abused by a priest.
With the knowledge of his pastor.
His very SEASONED pastor.
As I explain in another shorter episode entitled The Program and again, this time at length, in The Smoking Gun, in the 1970s, the Archdiocese of St. Louis had a program -- what I call THE Program -- in which KNOWN abusers were put with certain pastors at certain parishes.
Whatever that means.
Those parishes, in St. Louis, included Immacolata, the parish in which I grew up, and Mary Queen of Peace, the parish in which I raised my kids.
I base my understanding of The Progream on things my lawyers and my Father told me about Immacolata, as well as a damning document I found on the Mary Queen of Peace web site.
There's also the things the Director James Gunn -- of Guardians of the Galaxy fame -- who is from St. Louis, has said about his parish, St. Joe Manchester, and the transfer of known abuser Monsignor Russell Obmann from St. Joe Manchester to Immacolata. Which confirms the problem with Immacolata and leads me to suspect that St. Joe Manchester was another parish in The Program.
I'd never heard the (exact) phrase "Seasoned Pastor" used before, but I'd had a number of conversations over the years that established that Monsignor Flavin of Immacolata fit the description.
Of a Seasoned Pastor.
Which, for me, was a big deal because, in other words, a pattern FROM THE 1970s, that was CENTRAL to my story of abuse -- of KNOWN abusers being stashed with powerful, experienced, seasoned pastors -- was being repeated by the Diocese of Worcester, Massachusetts.
So what exactly has CHANGED?
In the Catholic Church.
Then there's the bigger question of why the plan was to send Fr. Alan Martineau, a priest with MULTIPLE incidents of "boundary violations" to a Seasoned Pastor and not a TRAINED FREAKING PSYCHOLOGIST.
Much less the POLICE.
Why does the Catholic Church REFUSE to learn from the past?
And, arguably, is behaving even WORSE.
Than the bad old days.
Hell, in the 1970s, at least, the Catholic Church DID send known or suspected abusers to Psychologists for evaluations, if not help.
So what's changed?
That they won't even do THAT.
Not any more.
Which, obviously, is WORSE than what the Catholic Church did in the WORST of the bad old days.
What is a Seasoned Pastor going to do that a Trained Psychologist CAN'T?
And the word, "Won't..."
That got me thinking.
I STILL don't know what the "Seasoned Pastors," who were a key to The Program in the Archdiocese of St. Louis, were supposed to do.
Based on a conversation I had with my Dad -- in which my Dad told me, when I asked him why some of the priests at Immacolata were a little "weird," that Monsignor Flavin was good at working with "troubled" priests who had "problems" -- my sense, at the time, of Monsignor Flavin's role was that of a Counselor.
Someone to talk to.
Maybe even a Psychologist.
Someone who helps people work through their troubles and problems.
Which was an idea that made sense to me -- that's what parents do for their kids and teachers and principals for for students and priests do for Catholics -- such that it let me move on from the topic.
Not that I EVER forgot the conversation.
However, the movie SPOTLIGHT and, especially, the opening scene -- if you don't know what I'm talking about, pause this and go watch SPOTLIGHT -- has since led me to revisit the topic of what EXACTLY the job of a Seasoned Pastor like Monsignor Flavin was.
Was he a counselor and psychologist?
Or something more?
I mean, this IS the Catholic Church...
So was the role of a Seasoned Pastor to protect the PRIEST?
And the CHURCH?
Rather than CHILDREN?
Kids like me?
As in the opening scene from the movie SPOTLIGHT.
Again, this IS the Catholic Church we're talking about...
What's so disturbing about the case of Fr. Alan Martineau is that this same pattern that I saw in the 1970s was being repeated in 2022.
Which is where my conversation with my Dad about Father Martineau yesterday enters the picture.
And got me thinking.
Again, why did they send Fr. Martineau to a Seasoned PASTOR and not a PSYCHOLOGIST?
There's no way...
But this IS the Catholic Church...
What struck me, when I was talking to my Dad about the case of Father Alan Martineau, and the plan to send him to a Seasoned Pastor, and not a Psychologist -- the Monsignor Flavin plan, as my Dad chimed in -- was what's CHANGED since the 1970s.
When the Catholic Church DID -- evidently, actually, I guess -- send priests who were abusers of children to Psychologists.
Well, ONE thing that's changed since the 1970s is the LAW.
The idea of Mandated Reporters, in particular.
Teachers and Doctors and Social Workers -- and PSYCHOLOGISTS -- are now ETHICALLY, and more importantly LEGALLY, required to make Law Enforcement aware of certain things they learn.
Including reasonable suspicions of abuse.
Which, I have to believe, is why the Diocese of Worcester went with its original Seasoned Pastor plan for Fr. Martineau.
Why the original plan was to send Martineau to a PRIEST and not a PSYCHOLOGIST.
Why they chose NOT to have him evaluated.
By a Psychologist or Psychiatrist or other trained professional.
And Mandated Reporter.
Because laws in all 50 states require a therapist to contact authorities if a patient is a danger to themselves.
Or to OTHERS.
So let's go back to the press release the Diocese of Worcester put out regarding the case of Father Alan Martineau...
In late January of this year (2022) Fr. Martineau was scheduled to be transferred to a new parish to benefit from the tutelage of a seasoned pastor because of concerns over boundary issues with a minor...
"Boundary issues with a minor."
Leaving aside the breezy, nothing to see here, pay no attention to that man behind the curtain, completely inappropriate use of the word "tutelage" -- it seems too clever, by half, as if they KNOW they're trying to get away with something or, at least, placate the True Believers -- there's that OTHER word.
Which got me thinking.
Especially in light of what's CHANGED since the 1970s and might lead the Catholic Church to do something even WORSE than what was done in the 1970s.
And explain the handling of the case of Fr. Martineau.
Why the original plan was to send him to a "Seasoned Pastor" and not a Psychologist.
Well the phrase "issues" -- PLURAL -- suggests that the Diocese of Worcester KNEW or, at least, had a pretty good SENSE, of what they had on their hands.
What Fr. Martineau WAS.
Which is, pretty clearly, a Pedophile.
Sure, ONE "boundary issue" could leave some room for doubt.
And create some defensible Plausible Deniability for the Diocese of Worcester.
But MULTIPLE boundary issues wouldn't.
Which is where the "problem" of sending Fr. Martineau to someone who was a Mandated Reporter comes to play.
And why, I have to guess, the Seasoned Pastor plan was decided on.
It HAD to be that case that the Diocese of Worcester KNEW that, if they sent Fr. Martineau to a Psychologist, and that Psychologist read the reports before talking to him, and then talked to Fr. Martineau about what happened, and Martineau told them, the odds were that that Psychologist couldn't HELP but conclude that Fr. Martineau was a Pedophile.
(As an aside, ho got through the Catholic Church's post Dallas Charter screening measures.)
It was THAT obvious.
That Fr. Martineau is a Pedophile.
The incidents -- plural -- were THAT glaring.
Which meant that the Psychologist would then have to REPORT that fact to the authorities.
And Father Martineau's career -- and utility -- as a priest would be OVER.
If the Diocese of Worcester sent Fr. Martineau to a Seasoned PASTOR...
Well, then they could keep everything QUIET.
Unlike a Psychologist, a Seasoned Pastor is NOT a Mandated Reporter.
Hell, a Seasoned Pastor could -- would KNOW to, precisely because they are Seasoned, which HAS to be the thinking -- claim that anything that Father Martineau told him about the details of the abuse, which made it clear that he was a Pedophile, was said in the context of Confession.
And there's no mandated requirement for Priests to report Child Sexual Abuse -- or Murder -- told to them in Confession.
The Catholic Church has seen to THAT.
And it's the likelihood that the case of Fr. Alan Martineau is so cynically and coldly CALCULATED -- STILL -- to get around the laws, that's so disturbing.
The world has changed.
So too has the Catholic Church.
They're better at CONCEALING the crimes of their priests.
Playing the game.
In a way that protects the church and its priests and bishops.
But, you might say, none of that HAPPENED.
Father Martineau was turned in and reported to the Vatican and to Law Enforcement.
So no harm, no foul.
Yes, but that's ONLY because some brave, responsible person came forward and blew the whistle on the whole scheme.
Had that person NOT done that, the people of Worcester, Massachusetts would be NONE the wiser.
KNOWN pedophile Fr. Alan Martineau, who was accused of MULTIPLE boundary issues at one parish, would have been shuffled to another parish and would be working with -- and counseled and perhaps managed and maybe even PROTECTED by -- a Seasoned Pastor.
Which makes the case that NOTHING has changed in the Catholic Church.
And Catholic children REMAIN in DANGER.
And not just Catholics.
And not just children.
And let me make one last point.
That adds some important context to the story.
My abuse happened when the seminaries and rectories were FULL.
The rectory at Immacolata had three priests in it; my abuser, Fr. LeRoy Valentine, our pastor, Monsignor Flavin, and My Friend The Cardinal.
And the Catholic Church behaved COMPLETELY irresponsibly -- and criminally -- in an attempt to protect itself, its Priests, and its Bishops.
What in the WORLD is going on, now, that the seminaries are all but EMPTY?
Are there WORSE stories than the story of Fr. Alan Martineau out there?
The stories I tell in Stika, Predation & Change STRONGLY suggest there are.
Because, remember, again, the only reason we even KNOW of the story of Fr. Alan Martineau is because some responsible, brave whistleblower got wind of the plan and raised enough of a fuss that the Diocese of Worcester was FORCED to do the right thing.
The APPROPRIATE thing.
The Catholic CHURCH didn't do the right thing.
But for that person -- and no thanks to the Catholic Church -- the children of Father Martineau's (new) parish, the one with the Seasoned Pastor, would be in danger.
Because the desire to not hurt Fr. Martineau's feelings, and not ruin his priesthood and his life, by revealing that he's a Pedophile, and the needs of the Bishop of Worcester, Bishop Robert Joseph McManus, to find priests to fill his parishes, trump the welfare of children.
Despite SPOTLIGHT and the Dallas Charter and the Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report and the VOS ESTIS and ALL of it.
Which is unacceptable.
And why, despite what my Dad says, I can't (just) move on.
Until people are warned.
I CAN'T do what Sister Helen did and keep the idea that, "But the church does so much GOOD," running through my head like a mantra.
I REFUSE to allow what happened to me to happen to anyone else.
I'll be DAMNED if I allow what happened to me to happen to anyone else.
If you'd like to help support my efforts to create this podcast, and expose the Abuse of the Abused by the Catholic Church, as well as The Program — or to just help me to eat and pay my bills while I'm spending my time on this project — I've set up a GoFundMe...