Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Latest From "These Stone Walls"

Father Gordon MacRae

For those who have been following my postings, I have written often about our faithful Catholic priests, men who I respect greatly for their love of Holy Mother Church. 

One such priest of whom I have written is Father Gordon MacRae.  We don't hear about Father Gordon in "polite circles", because Father Gordon was convicted of being a pedophile, although there was no evidence against him, even though incredible fictitious evidence was manufactured.  He was caught up in the sexual abuse scandal at its peak, when squeamish bishops rushed to pay off those who would "bring scandal to the Church" on the mere receipt of a letter from some contingency lawyer, claiming his client was a victim of abuse. 

With the rush to dole out cash to assuage the guilt from hiding the real abuses of the past, which of itself was a precipitous action, our bishops left priests accused of abuse on their own, in a "Where there is smoke there is fire" type of response.  Often, all too often, there was a fire burning, though it had smoldered with the stench of burning flesh for many years right under their noses, and they somehow had chosen to ignore it for fear of bringing scandal to the Church.

Today's scandal in the Church is not the abuse of children, though it may always exist.  No, it is the refusal of bishops and law enforcement agencies, to give priests accused of wrong doing, the rights that we all have before the law, to confront our accusers, to defend ourselves when charges are brought against us

Father Gordon is writing a three part series currently from his current home in the state prison in New Hampshire, about "When Priests are Falsely Accused".  This is the second part and links to the first part are embedded in the article linked above.

As I have defended his cause, I have been able to have some contact with Father Gordon.  I have written about him, and his blog master has read either my posting or my email to him, because you see, as a prisoner, he is not allowed the types of contact with the outside world that we take for granted.  He has no Internet or even a device that would support it.  He uses an old electric typewriter with some memory in it to write his poignant articles.  Father Gordon has then responded to me by telling his blog master what he wants her to convey in an email to me.

16 years he has been incarcerated.  The chilling thing is that he has refused ever to admit guilt for the charges that were brought against him, and had he pled guilty, he would be outside in the free world today, and would have been for many years.  Only a very foolish person would pass up an opportunity to plead guilty to charges he committed, thereby reducing his time in prison.  But, a man of courage and high moral fibre would never submit to a lie merely to save his butt.

Father Gordon is a man of courage and high moral fibre, and so he sits.  On Tuesdays, the same day as this latest posting by Father Gordon, we pray the Sorrowful Mysteries, when we say our daily rosary.  On my iPod, I have an application with the rosary on it, and with the mysteries with the scripture verse that forms the basis of the particular mystery and with the "Fruit of the Mystery" for which we are to pray.

The fruit of the 3rd Sorrowful Mystery, the Crowning with Thorns, is Courage.  The fruit of the 4th Mystery, the Carrying of the Cross is Patience, and the fruit of the 5th Sorrowful Mystery is Perseverance.

We are called to see each other as Christ with skin on, and so as I ponder these mysteries, I call to mind Father Gordon and all our faithful priests, who embody in an earthly sense these mysteries.  Father Gordon's embodiment of these mysteries just happens to be a bit more hard hitting.

Each morning when I pray the liturgy of the hours, I offer an additional prayer somewhat as follows: "Father, I pray for priests, deacons and religious, those in formation and those discerning a vocation to religious life, that you would guide them and guard them from all evil, that you would send our Holy Mother to surround them with her mantle of protection and frustrate the powers of Satan, that you would send Michael and their guardian angels to defend them in battles against Satan and the powers and forces of darkness, and to minister to their needs, and intercede for them at your right hand."

I particularly pray for Father Gordon MacRae and Father Mark Gruber whose earthly sufferings are joined to those of Our Dear Saviour on the Cross in a redemptive way, uniting them to Him.


Ryan said...

This post is superbly written, and represents well the spiritual conditions under which Fr. Gordon MacRae remains imprisoned. It is true that he is very much aware that he could have left prison many years ago had he been willing to participate in “a negotiated lie.” As someone who has conducted a great deal of research into this case, and has written extensively about it, I happen to know that this very enticement for the innocent to plead guilty is the subject of his third installment in this excellent series due next week.

Thank you so much for your prayerful support of Fr. MacRae and of all priests who are falsely accused. Thank you for having the courage to write so against the tide, or tidal wave, of vilification of our priests. Thank you also for your prayerful support and respect for real victims of the tragedy of child sexual abuse which has been rampant in our culture. I look forward to reading more of your blog in the future.

Charlene Duline said...

Thank you! Thank you! It is empowering when Catholic bloggers step up to the plate to speak out on behalf of our priests who have been treated unjustly by their dioceses, especially by their bishops. Very few of our bishops have the courage or the faith of their convictions to minister to unjustly accused priests, or to demand proof of allegations. How dare they gladly reveal the names of the accused priests without a shred of evidence, and give them and their attorneys any amount of money asked. Meanwhile, the priest who might be innocent, has had his reputation ruined forever by his own shepherds, those who took vows to lead and guide. Some might wonder if they could lead a seeing-eye dog. But how deep are OUR pockets?

It IS our money being given to these thieves and liars, and many of us resent it. It is time to stop. Where will it end? Thank you again, for your courage. God bless.

MBrandon said...

Thank you both for your kind words.

Our priests are alter Christus for us here on earth, though we are all called to be Christ for each other.

The pain and sorrow that those who are innocent must feel at being betrayed by their bishops and fellow priests must be very difficult for them.

I wonder if they feel like the lepers who came to Jesus for healing. They too were innocent victims of society.

Lux Veritatis said...

Absolutely excellent. I think that Father Gordon is a real SAINT. I would have gone nuts and ended up in a mental institution if I would have been in his shoes. His writing is poignant and his love of the Church is so manifest. I hope some day he will be freed. He is an inspiration for my priesthood. I pray for him everyday.

God bless you in your work. I added your blog to `my favourite links`.

MBrandon said...

Thank you Father. I have looked at your blog, and will look further at it.

I would appreciate knowing your real name so I can pray for you in your ministry, as I do for all priests that I know.

God Bless You

Michael Brandon