Father Mark Gruber is one of the "wrongly accused" priests whose case I have been following lately, the other being Father Gordon MacRae. As a Catholic Christian, I have a deep love of our priests, who are for us "alter christus". Some of them have sinned seriously. All have sinned. But, they need out love and support, and those who have been wrongly accused must be supported even more.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has an article this morning by Ann Rodgers about Father Mark's case here. In essence there is strong evidence to support that Father Mark was protecting the seal of confession in the somewhat specious answers he gave from time to time to direct questions of him. That his abbot is blind to this is strange.
Here is an excerpt from the article:
The dramatic case of the monk who filed a defamation suit against St. Vincent College for removing him from ministry after pornography was discovered on his computer has an even more dramatic subplot.The seal of confession is very important to our faithful priests. Without it, so many would not come to that wonderful sacrament. Theresa McKernan, a commenter to the facebook page for Friends of Father Mark had this to say about his witness:
A former student of the Rev. Mark Gruber has told both state police and canonical investigators that he downloaded pornography on the priest's computer. He says that Father Gruber knew that, but couldn't say so because he had sacramentally confessed that sin to the priest before the pornography was discovered. Priests are forbidden to reveal the contents of a confession under any circumstance.
I was teaching my catechism students about the sacrament of confession this Sunday. They understand the seal of the confessional, but many shared they secretly believe that if the confession was "bad enough", the priest would find some way... to tell someone. I think this fear is one of the reasons many teens fall away from the sacrament, never sure if their sins might be "bad enough" for a priest to find a way to tell their parents or teacher.Every dark cloud has a silver lining, and this may be it for our beleaguered priests.
There are many stories of martyrs and saints, but being able to tell them that I actually met a priest, a friend of my sister, who has been removed from his teaching job, suspended from his priestly duties, was accused and publicly lambasted for the most horrible of accusations, and had to have a serious fear of prosecution for a crime he didn't commit, rather than reveal something confessed to him, made quite an impact on them.
There is no great tragedy without some small good, and at least here in Michigan, Father Mark's tragedy may have the small good of inspiring a small classroom of teens to make their confession with a little more confidence and a little more faith.
Sacred Heart of Jesus, we trust in Your Love for Father Mark.