As I continue to think about the cases of Father Mark Gruber and Father Gordon MacRae, I have received some comments from those who are supporters of both of these men.
Dr. Ken Minarik, a childhood and long time friend of Father Mark made this comment the other day:
Thanks for your interest in justice for my dear friend Mark Gruber.As well, I heard from Ryan MacDonald who has been a faithful supporter of justice for Father Gordon MacRae:
His complaint reads like a bad b-movie script that never ends.
I would point out especially paragraphs 123 and 129, which point out that Towey and Nowicki showed binders of unedited, unpixelated pornographic images to a variety of people who had nothing to do with the legal community or law enforcement. Fr Mark's attorney believes that since they possessed images that they purported to be of underage persons, they are themselves guilty of felonious criminal behavior. Such would have to be proven in court. Such alleged behavior is obviously vulgar, violent, and morally heinous in any case.
As someone who has researched and written extensively on the case of Fr. Gordon MacRae, I want to thank and commend you for what you have written to date about not only his situation but Fr. Gruber's as well. At this juncture, I must believe that God has something in mind for the case of Fr. MacRae. Though none of us can know God's mind, I hope that that something will be not just an exoneration, but a demonstration of how easy it is to set up and destroy a priest in the current climate of accusation and fear that has permeated our Church.This indicates to me that people of faith are actively working on helping out these two men of God.
I happen to know that there are some accomplished investigators and a legal team hard at work on exposing the truth behind the claims against Fr. MacRae. I also happen to know that this team is itself convinced from the newest evidence that this priest was set up for the purpose of extorting money from the Catholic Church. Unfortunately, the Church has been all too eager to be a party to that extortion as our bishops "reach out" to victims with lucrative settlements and few questions asked. It seems to me that what has happened to Fr. MacRae has been complicated by the fact that he has refused to play along with such an agenda, has named his false accusers, and has forbidden his Diocese to settle. It did so anyway, and simply cut him out of the equation. I know that Fr. MacRae is now forced into fighting his case, and splitting his meager resources against two fronts. He is trying to overturn an unjust conviction while simultaneously trying to prevent his administrative laicization. Let's keep up some due vigilance. Thank you for your interest and support.
The most telling comment to my recent article on the Thorn in the Flesh came on the FaceBook site for Father Mark came form Peg Skurka Waldmann:
I have some difficulty with that whole concept, even the permissive part-- I always have--God gave man free will to choose to do right from wrong. The abbot chose "wrong" and that is not God's work nor his will--it is true evil.Peg says what so many of us do not have the courage to speak out loud about free will, and its operation in our world.
But, to imply that God does not have his hand in what is going on, or in every part of what is going on here, is to limit God's abilities to actually be God for us, in times of trial, as well as when "right' choices are made.
God will bring good out of these terrible situations, because those in the situation Father's Gruber and MacRae trust in Him. However, God will not trample on the free will of those who have perpetrated evil in the lives of these two faith filled priests. His plan is bigger than that.
That in no way reduces the disgust and sorrow that the supporters of Father Gruber must be feeling at this time, particularly if they read the document that Dr. Minarik put up, being the claim filed on Father Gruber's behalf.
In the mean time, as Ryan MacDonald states above, there are people on the ground trying to unravel the false allegations against Father Gordon MacRae.
Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. But absolute power occurs often in the Church, where a local Bishop or Abbot has power over individuals in their charge. That power is a burden for them, and yet many of them work very hard and take their responsibilities very seriously. But, they all seem to come aflutter when sexual abuse is mentioned even remotely.
Father MacRae was railroaded over unsubstantiated lies, and no one would come to his aid, as the Church reeled from the sex abuse scandal that was being unveiled at the time.
Father Gruber's case is different. Here, using the guise of sexual abuse, which is totally unfounded in this case as well, Father Gruber has been railroaded because he had previously stood up for his fellow faculty members, and for others against an oppressive regime at St. Vincent's College.
Those who have allowed two fine priests to be falsely imprisoned should be ashamed of their actions, and should seek forgiveness for their abandonment of the Christian principles of our faith.
It is bad when non-Christians malign faithful Christians. It is worse when those claiming to be Christians, of the more fundamentalist persuasion, routinely speak in derogatory fashion of the Catholic Church and Catholics in general. But, it is far worse when those in Church hierarchy abandon their principles of filial love, to perpetuate lies and deceptions against faithful priests.
Neither of these situations look to be coming to a healthy conclusion soon, and so we must pray for both of these men, and for their persecutors, and those who have been instruments of their imprisonment.
On this feast of St. John Chrysostum, a priest of the 4th century, who was himself persecuted for speaking the truth, let us invoke his patronage for Father Mark Gruber and Father Gordon MacRae, and invite him to intercede on their behalf.
Saint John, we beg you to pray intercession for these our brothers, Father Mark Gruber and Father Gordon MacRae, that they may have the peace that you had during persecution, and that they will remain in the truth. Please also pray that these false accusations that have been levelled against them will be shown to be false and be repudiated, and that they will be free once more to perform fully their priestly ministries.
Sacred Heart of Jesus, we trust in your love for Father Mark and Father Gordon. Sacred Heart of Jesus, we trust in your love for all those who have been involved in their persecution. Sacred Heart of Jesus fill them all with Your Blood.